Carbon neutrality - what a con!

StephenWilson's picture

I should probably aver right up front that like any sensible person, I am all for energy efficiency. We shouldn't waste the stuff. But surely the fad for "carbon neutrality" in the home is a huge con. It's blame shifting.

If we transitioned to renewable energy, then (within reason) we could all run air conditioners and clothes dryers, guilt free. The cynic in me suggests that the carbon neutrality craze is driven by complacent or weak willed governments, and the fossil fuel industry. It's almost a smokescreen. We have reality TV shows (even on the ABC for godsake!) that put the onus on humble householders to save the planet.

Households don't emit greenhouse gasses -- power stations do!


It's all a con

The writer is correct in sniffing a rat, but it's much bigger than he supposes. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and its practical abandonment by the Chinese dictatorship, the left has been casting around for a stick to beat capitalism with for nearly twenty years. Globalisation was the first new big bad wolf that drew crowds of next years estate agents, history teachers and macdonalds servers into the streets, despite the fact that free trade is the key, not impediment, to third world prosperity. When that refused to fly the brilliant wheeze of Global Warming was siezed upon as the great evil through which those who thought themselves brilliant but resented the fact they had neither well paying jobs or political power, could boss everybody else around.

This is a common thread in society today. Everything is bad for you. Food is bad for you. Drink is bad for you. Now driving a car or even turning on a light is somehow evil. Every change in the weather is now seen as a harbinger of doom. If there's hot weather anywhere in the world, that's climate change. And any cold weather too of course. Drought, that's climate change, but so is flooding. A hot summer is proof of climate change in Britain, but so is a cold one. A hurricane happens to hit New Orleans and it's climate change, it's followed by a quiet couple of hurricane seasons and somehow that's not news. Every bit of weather brought to our screens instantaneously by the technology the green lobby so despise is seen as evidence for its existence and yet, because the proposition cannot be falsified, it barely counts as science. This doesn't matter though because self satisfied middle class people in million dollar flats, driving brand new cars can now happily pat themselves on the back for wasting ten minutes a week on pointless recycling sorting and nod sagely at the last doom mongering 'we're all going to die' story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The thing is though, nobody actually believes it. Has the price of waterside property in Sydney plummeted? If people really believed sea levels were going to soar these properties would be plunging in price. How many Australians are abandoning this supposedly drought stricken country for the new lands bound to open up in Siberia, Newfoundland and Greenland? Nobody.

Climate has always changed and always will. Australia, producing 1.4% of the world's carbon emissions may be the worst per capita population but is powerless to change the world. Every generation has its scare story - AIDS, the Y2K bug - and most of them are nothing more than dragons in the mist. The idea that human civilisation, or even life itself, is imperiled is nonsense. Humanity obviously degrades the environment, with deforestation and overfishing remaining huge problems, but mankind's five thousand years of civilisation are but a blink of an eye in the five hundred and fifty million years of multi celled life on this planet and at some point in the future we'll be gone without leaving a sign we were ever here.

if you can't see it, it's not happening...

This is great - I disagree and agree with both of you, and you disagree with each other - I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Yes Stephen, carbon neutrality is a bit of a smoke screen, it's a bit of a figure fudge while we get our collective acts together, but it is part of the overall solution, along with adopting less power hungry means of living our lives, going to and from work, and requiring our government's to push dirty industries to clean up their collective acts. I agree, we do have to reduce our overall usage, and convert to zero emissions where possible, but we also have to do something to mitigate those industries that which we can't account for in other ways. So yeah - ride your bike to work, planting a tree every couple of weeks is also a good idea.

And Nick conservative estimates suggest 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1985 - another 33 million are currently living with AIDS, and there are 15 million AIDS orphans in Africa all of whom might disagree regarding the "AIDS scare" comment. Yeah sure - we're but a speck if you take the entire history of the planet into consideration, and I'm sure life on earth will outlast us - but isn't working towards our own demise a kind of silly way to go about things?