David King’s unfounded optimism

David King was the Chief Scientific Advisor to the United Kingdom Government for seven years until 2007. He has many honours and qualifications. He has done a great deal to warn of the dangers of climate change. Writing for the BBC’s website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8505854.stm) he expressed the view that the failure of the world’s politicians to reach agreement at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen should be regarded as an opportunity for individuals to fill the void in carbon dioxide emission reducing measures. He is, of course, just whistling in the wind, or is it whistling in the dark, or just plain whistling Dixie?

Some individual people and small businesses have always tried to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The number of individuals doing something  is very small – there are significantly more people that want to do something than can actually afford to do something.  The size of businesses doing something (as opposed to be pretending to do something or using greenhouse gas emissions as a profit centre form public subsidy) is also very small.

Most people and businesses are quite happy carrying on as normal – the dreaded “business as normal” scenario so dreaded of climate modellers. In fact it is no longer “business as normal” because the effect of the recession has been to reduce the opportunities available for greenhouse gas reduction measures simply because there is no cash around.

Mr King rightly points out that the United Kingdom has concentrated on setting out legislation for action rather than action itself. Many of those in Government genuinely believe that the Climate Change Act which legally requires specific greenhouse gas reduction by specific dates is a world leading piece of legislation. They are deluding themselves. It is window dressing and very poor window dressing at that.

Mr King also seems to think that “communities” will lead a drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If so, the “drive” will be very small and very poor and nowhere near enough to make a significant greenhouse gas emission reduction, no matter what the legislation says.

The key to the solution is not, as Mr King thinks, to engage people to do more to reduce emissions; the key to the solution is to enact legislation not requiring reductions but requiring measures that actually create reductions. Governments of the world could not bring themselves to do this at Copenhagen and unfortunately I have no expectation that in the foreseeable future this will change, which means that emissions levels will not reduce. David King, more than anyone, knows what this will mean, whatever he whistles.

One Response

  1. It is very frustrating indeed trying to get any message across to a general populous who’s minds have been set in the material way by its governmental policies.

    The party in the United Kingdom is well and truly over for a while where manufacturing and higher carbon /pollution is concerned, most of our work has all but stopped and with it our emmisions, which are now being made somewhere else in the world,

    So is it right and just to ask every person in the Uk to pay extra for being cleaner while the majority of the profits go to just a few, this is what a carbon tax would be asking us to do, what if someone was creating very little carbon using renewables and other non pollouting methods, would they get a discount, I don’t think so.

    Cheapness would also become a thing of the past, because the extra taxes charged for the carbon emissions would be passed onto the customer along with the companies profit upon each item sold.

    Our food is always on the road when it should be grown and distributed within a few miles like it used to be, we are surounded by countryside so there are no real reasons why this cannot come to pass, as the price of fuel rises so will the food, doing it the old way would save the environment.

    The greener a society became the less money any government would be able to collect in taxes, if we carry on as per normal things will be counter productive and on the whole far more destructive towards the environment.

    When we say governments are in charge, this is not true they control nothing whatsoever, it is the people with the money who are calling the shots, members of parliament are mere porpers within the system of money and control, all at each others singular throat in constant resolution within a side show of 650 jobs for the boys and their hangers on all acheiving zero for the environment.

    Its not about being able to afford an alternative it should be for everyone their responsibility not a necessity but a want to improve your immediate environment, for instance, here we can make you a pair of quality hand made shoes without it causing any further carbon emissions, we could go for a walk to the shops if they were any decent ones left in the town and not on the outskirts needing a car to get there, we could all walk the kids to school, all we need to do is to work a little harder for ourselves and the enviornment would benefit.

    Again, paying to pollute is a passport to the destruction of both industry or enviornment you cannot have it both ways, and you cannot keep on asking people to give what they won’t have left.

    Making someone and the enviornment work for nothing and not putting anything back to re-create a balance, giving the lions share to those who do next nothing, does not work for the whole, it will all end in tears and all of the gold in a single hand, a golden hand that has killed all the rest of the birds in his bush.

    We could talk until the cows come home its never going to change anything, just create more carbon emissions, at the end of the day its money that makes the world go around and money will be our undoing, when only a very few have it and the rest of us don’t don’t we are heading towards extinction every day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: