‘If we don’t lower emissions in the next 18 months, we will suffer irreparable damage’. It is this message we see, constantly. A new wave of panic has ensued as a new narrative ripples throughout the globe. It is one that is insistent on reminding us all that everyone is going to die. With the likes of politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushing and reworking ‘The green new deal’ constantly to spontaneous and somewhat virtuous figures like Greta Thunberg campaigning for imminent action to be taken. I am by no means a ‘Climate change denier’. There is unarguable evidence to suggest that the climate is warming year-on-year, that the greenhouse gas effect from human emissions are contributing to this and that eventually something will give when it comes to the survival of the planet. However, the amount of virtue signalling and scare-mongering around the issue is not driving any viable solutions forward or enabling rational thinking. Many of the solutions that people have tried to proclaim as fantastic have not been working. Let’s take a look at some.
To not be in favour of paper straws earns you the, not-so-catchy accolade of ‘climate change denier’. However as written about in my virtue-signalling blog, they have been debunked as being just as non-recyclable as a normal straw and produce 50% more emissions to make than a conventional polypropylene straw. This was forced onto us by political figureheads and governments attempting to seem virtuous, not because they care deeply about the environment, but to push an agenda and line their own pockets with power and capital.
This is one that people do not think about. We know that pound-for-pound, the beef industry is one of the most polluting when it comes to emissions and agriculture. But when it comes to fruit and vegetables, a lot of them are inaccessible to certain countries based on their climates and soil quality. This means going vegan would inevitably increase global shipping of products, which would have an increase in our emissions. There are other issues with veganism such as increased ‘top soil erosion’ and even animals themselves are at risk from a vegan diet. Stats show that up to 40,000 ducks and over a billion mice were shot and poisoned to protect rice and wheat in Australia. It is fair to assume the data is similar in other countries but proportional. So with increased emissions and significant animal fatalities and land damage, is a vegan diet really better for the environment?
A refusal to consider nuclear power
People seem to despise China for its use of coal fired power stations, but with over 2100 in use and a further 1200 approved for construction, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The narrative suggests that we have to switch to wind power or solar energy. But when we suggest that nuclear power produces zero emissions, nobody wants to know. Why? It is feasible to understand the safety concerns with risks and uncertainty around them. They are incredibly safe, produce no emissions and produce energy at a cheap enough price, per kilowatt hour, to be economically viable. It is one to consider.
My problem with the environmental debate is the unnecessary widespread panic and unhelpful virtue-signalling to push through pointless policy. Panicking and making irrational decisions has never been a helpful tactic to solve anything, so why is it now viable and necessary. The unwillingness to listen to opposing data and opinions is astounding. But is it the fault of the people? Absolutely not. The media and industry have led people into irrational thought with scare-mongering to pursue their own political aims.
I believe the climate is changing and we need to act, but there are important things to note:
Traditional clean routes like solar, wind or hydroelectric power are not economically viable for broad societal usage yet. Is it worth the big economic hit right now? Especially in a period of geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty and a probable no-deal Brexit heading our way. The UK could go completely carbon neutral and it wouldn’t put a dent in the problem.
Who could put a dent in the problem? The top producers of carbon/fossil based emissions. China, USA, India and Russia are the biggest contributors making over 50% of the emissions. However, we have no control over what other countries do over international lines. You could pressure them? But what gives the western powers the right to dictate what economies must suffer in the developing world. They will not listen to you especially in the midst of technological and industrial shift for economic gain. Nor will they listen to you if you tell a country, whose people depend on the dirtiest sources of energy to survive, to clean up their act.
So what can we do? As much as climate change is happening, it is not worth while chancing a ‘hail Mary’ on a plan A to save the planet in 18 months or 10 years (whatever data you are looking at). It is important to start however. Cutting emissions by replacing coal or gas fired power stations with nuclear energy is not only cleaner but nuclear power can keep the world powered for a long time. This can buy us time to develop and work on the efficiency and cost of alternative, cleaner methods.
There also seems to be a disdain for a plan B. in the event of the climate getting warmer anyway, the inevitable consequence, that everybody fears, is the rising sea levels. This time can also be used to work on geopolitical tensions surrounding the issue and come up with a contingency plan on where to move displaced people in the event of sea levels consuming towns, cities and counties.
Whatever the way forward, it is important to not be swept up in the hysteria. Keeping a cool and rational head, exploring our options and listening to different opinions and ideologies. Stop claiming that those who disagree with the hysteria-based woke narrative are deniers and don’t care. This is the time, more than ever, we should cast aside malice and really grind out a solution. It is important to research outside of the media, as there is always a reason anybody writes what they write. I am not exempt from this. It is something we can all change.