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The Guardian Finds That Civilisation Emits Carbon Dioxide

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at all. But it does seem to take the Guardian and such fellow travellers by surprise, every time:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year, a new Guardian analysis has found. The figures highlight the disproportionate carbon footprint of those who can afford to fly, with even a short-haul return flight from London to Edinburgh contributing more CO2 than the mean annual emissions of a person in Uganda or Somalia. [/perfectpullquote]

There are, still and shamefully, dozens of countries around the world where people live as humans have near always done, in abject poverty and destitution. That $1.90 a day of consumption which has, over time, been the modal human experience.

We who are lucky enough to live in more civilised and richer places have greater carbon dioxide emissions. Because, to a large extent, civilisation is the use of energy.

There are two potential answers to this. We could try to find a way of powering that civilisation with non- or less- emitting energy sources. Something that we’re trying and contrary to the general view, doing very well with. Sure, we’re not powering everything with solar cells as of yesterday but also we’re just not going to be burning coal 50 years down the line. We are in fact getting there.

The other is to say the heck with this civilisation bit let’s all go back to living as peasants. This has the unfortunate side effect that at least billions die but, you know, the value of a pristine Gaia. This is roughly the Extinction Rebellion answer.

Grauniad types don’t even manage to fall in the middle there. They’re still not grasping this basic point as yet. Civilisation, at current tech, means emissions. That’s why we get these “flights cause emissions” and “beef causes emissions” and on and on stories. Because they’re still not getting this basic point. Sure, all of it does. Our choice being either power civilisation some other way or don’t have civilisation.

The first of those is rather easier as well as being thoroughly more enjoyable.

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Dodgy Geezer
Dodgy Geezer
4 years ago

We who are lucky enough to live in more civilised and richer place… It wasn’t luck. It was the initiative, ingenuity and hard work of our ancestors. And we maintain our conditions by similar ingenuity and hard work. The Grauniad is a flag waver for the socialist concept that if someone has more than you do you should steal it from him. We should never tire of pointing out which people and which systems did, and continue to, provide the wealth and civilisation that these crooks wish to acquire without any cost to themselves… Oh, and we will be burning… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
4 years ago
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer

Probably some coal will still be burned in 50 years time (if only to keep Jonathan’s steam locos running), but the quantity we use is rapidly diminishing. I’d strongly suggest though that mobile machinery (trucks and boats and planes) will still be powered by burning hydrocarbons. Nothing else is capable of achieving the required energy density, absent some currently unforeseeable breakthrough in energy storage technology (in which case we might just as well posit Star Trek-style ‘transporters’). Said hydrocarbons need not be produced by exhuming dead dinosaurs, of course.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
4 years ago

No coal? What’s the local steam locomotive railway going to use?

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