Politics is the art of the possible and, for me, Dominic’s post recognises the practicalities of the situation facing us.I don’t think it’s helpful to see everything as a dichotomy, and this ‘black or white’ terminology is used to shut down debate & create division.
We see these opposing labels all the time now:
Remain Bedwetters vs Xenophobic Brexiteers
BLM Marxists vs Racist bigots
Out of touch woke liberals vs Tory scum
Zero Covid cult vs Anti-vaxxers
Eco loons vs Climate change deniers
The “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” mentality is tearing society apart - there is far more nuance than that both in reality & in people’s thoughts/opinions.
You’re never going to convince somebody by labelling them or abusing them. If you want to make a difference you need to embrace everyone and be prepared to have a proper debate.
For me, the question is how do we slow the man-made portion of climate change, and what can we do to adapt? The reality is that the UK has already cut its carbon emissions by 35% over the past 20 years - the best performance of any G20 nation & only contributes 1% of the world’s carbon emissions now. Of course it’s more complex than that when you look at imports etc which have replaced manufacturing but the likes of China, USA & Germany are much bigger culprits.
I agree that we can’t just blame others & do nothing but I think it’s fair to ask how the proposed solutions would impact quality of life, compared with the impact they would have on the climate.
I also don’t think the extreme scaremongering is helpful, and the modelling which is presented as fact by the media. Bear in mind we’ve been warned continuously by scientists over the past 40-50 years that the world is on the brink of collapse for one climatic reason or another. The likes of Extinction Rebellion would have us shut down capitalism, impoverish us all and send us back to their dream of the stone age on the basis of these ‘scientific’ predictions.
We simply can’t just eliminate the use of fossil fuels for energy - the transition will take decades. The Greens have spent the past few decades opposing emission free nuclear power, but hopefully with technological advances, the conversion of coal to oil & gas, and more nuclear power, we can limit climate change to tolerable levels. But China & India are probably the places to start because without them on board we have no hope. An ever increasing global population is another significant obstacle, but that's thanks to medical advances.
Even so it might be worth putting as much time, money & effort into how we can adapt to climate change as we do into preventing it if it’s as inevitable as many of the above articles suggest.
This is true! As the saying goes "amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, but professionals study logistics".One of the major things that I think is going to have to change is transport. We have built a global society on the cheap transportation of goods and people. Unless we can develop equivalent transport that uses renewables, that model has to break.
I often think about how a wine producer could function if they were forced to stop using fossil fuels. We rely so much on diesel and petrol to farm, to get supplies, to market our wines and to get them to our customers.
Respectfully - I think this will end up having been a minor part of the transition. Necessary but by no means sufficient.My impression is that there's now a really significant push among vehicle makers to transition to electric - both for passenger vehicles and more industrial versions - and also to make them driverless. The latter point is actually quite important as driverless vehicles tend to be much more efficient. As Dominic pointed out earlier, the technology brings with it plenty of other problems to do with the mineral components required, but hopefully, with so many companies doing R&D, some of those problems will be solved sooner rather than later.
The voter's difficulty is seeing through the greenwash, making sure concrete commitments are in the manifesto and held firm.This is true! As the saying goes "amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, but professionals study logistics".
There's a lot that needs to change - but with concerted effort, it's not hard to imagine an 80 or 90% reduction in transport emissions being doable without intolerable (whatever that means in this context) financial consequences. In the UK over 80% of passenger kilometres are traveled by cars, vans and taxis. Reducing that to 10% - through a combination of better public transport, cycling facilities (especially e bikes and scooters), and increasing the cost of motoring (which could either be regarded as punitive pricing, or reducing the level of subsidy motoring receives...) would be doable, and I think in most cases increase the quality of peoples lives. There will be some trips - visiting the second home in Cornwall with the kids and dog for example - that are really hard to move to a different mode. There are others - a disabled person visiting hospital in a wheelchair, getting your book case back from Ikea - which will require some adjustment to the existing systems - but not huge - decent wheelchair access to all buses and tube stations, more bus routes, electric vans delivering your Ikea bookshelf for a reasonable cost...
What's crucial here, though, is that we can't shop our way out of this. No single individual, or winemaker, can unilaterally make the changes that are needed - in the same way that no individual would have been able to prosecute the Second World War or deliver the Marshall plan. The biggest impact that any of us can have is influencing our elected representatives to help them understand that this is important, and - crucially - our continuing to vote for them is contingent on their taking environmental issues seriously.
Use less. Buy less. Travel less. Make do and mend.Respectfully - I think this will end up having been a minor part of the transition. Necessary but by no means sufficient.
Electric cars - fuelled by renewables / nukes - are surely a lot less polluting, however simply reducing the number of journeys reduced pollution massively more. It's a bit like reusable bottles vs recycling plastic at the supermarket - both can make you feel good, but one is 100 times better than the other...
It's interesting how Uber (which could arguably be considered as analogous to driverless cars in some ways - certainly loads of very cheap traveling capacity was put on the roads) has actually led to a lot more cars on the roads. If self driving electrics lead to more journeys happening - then it’s not obvious that they are helping address climate change.
Scooters / ebikes on the other hand…
Use less. Buy less. Travel less. Make do and mend.
It can still be fun and just as meaningful.
And drink the wine we've spent years accumulating.
Agree completely on the crucialness of the regulatory stick and carrot.
This is where I’m hopeful. I know that there is a general distaste for war metaphors…but I do think they’re valid here. During the war, we didn’t have newspapers printing optimistic views of particular battles, in order to get their own military agenda pushed. There was a tacit understanding that the generals were fighting the war, and we had to get behind it. I think we will see something similar happening - in our local area the political parties are fighting to distance themselves from the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods - because they are terrified of the anti LTN protestors, who have organised themselves very effectively and campaign very vociferously. All that needs to happen is a little more vociferousness on the other side.The voter's difficulty is seeing through the greenwash, making sure concrete commitments are in the manifesto and held firm.
This is a fair point in one sense - but also very hard to argue. Any huge change will be seen by *some* as regression - the economic changes which led home ownership becoming unaffordable to people in their 20s for example, or indeed if one wants to go further back, the increasing unaffordability of domestic servants to all but the very rich. Having "century floods" every year, or having to put air purifiers in your house because of the smoke from the wildfires is one form of regression. The key is going to be which "regressions" do we trade off against each other.
I was looking into this yesterday (to be clear - I mean light googling and arithmetic - nothing terribly clever). Airships are awesome but don't go very fast...80ish miles per hour. Could work for freight, or leisure travel, but a business trip to New York, or even a holiday in Greece , would be tough. Long distance human travel feels to me like one area in which Pritchardian Regression is likely to have to be tolerated, or rationalised, the most. It is certainly very timely that Facebook has just invented the metaverse...How fast does air travel need to be? There are electric planes. Just that they're a bit slow and a bit limited in range. Perhaps airships might make a comeback?
Autonomous electric planes could do holidays to Greece. It's transatlantic that's tricky.I was looking into this yesterday (to be clear - I mean light googling and arithmetic - nothing terribly clever). Airships are awesome but don't go very fast...80ish miles per hour. Could work for freight, or leisure travel, but a business trip to New York, or even a holiday in Greece , would be tough. Long distance human travel feels to me like one area in which Pritchardian Regression is likely to have to be tolerated, or rationalised, the most. It is certainly very timely that Facebook has just invented the metaverse...
Yes, although I'd be impressed if they can achieve more than 50% reduction without a certain amount of spin!There are several groups working to create effectively carbon-neutral jet fuels. The UK government has just picked a shortlist of potential producers to support.
UK government shortlists sustainable aviation fuel projects
Agree completely on the crucialness of the regulatory stick and carrot.
But we're not children. We can do our bit too, not just wait for a big parent to compel us. We can act faster and deeper than the state will be willing to legislate because politicians fear unpopularity.
Time is of the essence so let's do what we can. The children will be grateful.
But we may even be glad ourselves. Because the effects of climate change are already burning and flooding us rather than just being something that will hit the kids.
Also I don't see it as regression. It is change. Nothing stays the same.
Clinging to what we know could just as well be considered regressive when conditions make the clinging destructive to self or others.
If I make my life more local, read the books I've been meaning to read, play the music I've been wanting to play, allow myself to live at a gentler pace, enjoy each experience thoroughly rather than nervously speed grazing, life might actually be not just different but in some ways better.
Well, yes. As long as the wood is grown locally and doesn't require much processing, then it is carbon neutral. There are other issues with the production of particulates and so on, but any carbon released is carbon that was once in the air, so the process is carbon neutral.By way of comparison, is a wood burner net carbon zero because it comes from trees, which can be grown?