George Monbiot Doesn’t Understand Climate Change Now


You’d think, given how vocal he is on the subject, that George Monbiot would manage to grasp at least the basics of his own argument. Sure, he’s always going to be at angles with reality and all that but his own argument might at least be logical.

We owe our right to vote, our freedom from servitude and subjection, our prosperity and security to people reviled in their time as lawbreakers and reprobates. Breaking the law on behalf of others is a long and honourable tradition. Next week, a few dozen unaffiliated activists intend to start something they call Heathrow Pause. They will each fly a toy drone within the restricted zone around Heathrow airport. The drones will fly nowhere near the flight paths, and never above head height, ensuring they present no risk. But any drone activity forces the airport to suspend all flights. The activists know they face arrest and possibly long prison sentences.

Almost as an aside, what is it that is the actual climate change argument? Externalities, isn’t it. My and or your actions don’t include the damage that we’re doing to third parties.

What is flying a drone around Heathrow? Creating an externality, the flyer’s action creating costs for third parties.

So, well done there, well done.

Nothing will change until the impacts of flying become salient. One of the Heathrow Pause campaigners, Valerie Brown, told me: “I’m petrified, of course … It’s not easy to face the idea of prison, but it’s even more frightening to me to think about what my grandchildren and all the children of the world will face in 20 or 30 years’ time.” Another, James Brown (no relation), explained that he decided to act when he found his adult daughter had broken down with grief about ecological destruction. “I’m prepared to face the consequences,” he said. “I don’t know what prison will be like for me. But against the alternatives it’s a small price to pay.”

They risk their liberty in the hope of freeing us from the momentous consequences of climate breakdown. History will judge them kindly.

Well, no, they’re nutters and that and their hysteria is how history will remember them. But it’s this which is just so gorgeous:

Carbon offsets are now redundant: the only way of preventing more than 1.5C of heating is to reduce emissions drastically, while simultaneously using the protection and restoration of nature to draw down carbon from the atmosphere.

Restoring nature is a carbon offset.