Tag Archives: pointless climate actions

Pointless climate actions

Rarely a day goes by without reading of some new UK initiative with regard to climate change. Sadly (as pointed out in several posts here) the vast majority are pointless, and often dumb, tokenism. Worse, there often seems to be a conflation with plastic pollution, when forces here often actually conflict.

What is now many years ago, right wing conservative politicians would rant against extreme left wing (normally in London) councils about their lack of financial probity, but, as with climate issues, the targets of their invective were generally wrong. They would, for example, call out a council for employing a poet (yes, those were the days ..) as trashing ratepayers money, but the reality is that in the scope of their total expenditure it was not a material matter. It was the wrong argument.

That error is being repeated in spades on the environment, and climate policy makers and pressure groups need to get real. The UK does not generate 98.8% of global emissions. The US, China and India alone collectively generate more than 50%, so just like the poet, expending effort on saving 10% of 1.2% which are UK emissions will not stop the oceans from boiling. Unless and until the aforementioned three become wedded to significant and prompt action, activities here will remain what they are i.e. pointless tokens by self- satisfied and smug people.

To show the scope of this problem, in recent weeks, Trump has turned his attention to ‘windmills’; “the energy is unreliable and terrible” (twitter) / “the noise causes cancer ” (speech, December 2019). We can set aside his bizarre statements at rallies, however, and look to actions. The EPA has been steadily rolling back on environmental protections implemented by Obama such as restrictions on coal fired power generation (June 2019), so Trump can get support from Wyoming miners. Screw the world, get elected for term 2.

China’s emissions, of course, are significantly impacted by the Western world exporting its own emissions by importing manufactured goods from China. Also, the UK is now the biggest net importer of CO2 emissions in the G7, through imports of foreign goods.

So enough of the token, back-slapping but pointless exercises. No more talk of dates to achieve something which are patent nonsense, as they are simply don’t impact at all on the global picture. There is an English (or should it be British) trait that somehow ‘we must do our bit’. This feels comforting and self-righteous, but is an intellectually bankrupt approach – the only way to counter global warming from a UK perspective is to support the facilitation of global agreements which the big three will subscribe to… and right now that looks a long way off.