Repeat After Me – Michel Barnier Is An Idiot

Sure, and he’s the Brexit negotiator but this isn’t about that. Michel Barnier is telling us that we’ve all got to do something about a Green New Deal and all that. OK, maybe we do and maybe we don’t. A point up for discussion. His idiocy though is apparent when he confuses two rather major points. One, the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb CO2 – more accurately, CO2-e. OK, that’s climate change and we’ve all got our opinions on that. The second is this idea of a circular economy, recycling more stuff.

The idiocy is that the two are more often than not in conflict.

First, Europe must become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. If we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C relative to the pre-industrial era, we have no other choice: EU net carbon-dioxide emissions must come down to zero by mid-century. That means investing massively in future mobility, energy-efficient buildings, and renewables, and in key technologies such as hydrogen batteries, new generations of solar panels, and green chemistry. It also means applying strict CO2 emission limits to new passenger cars, public transport, and commercial sea and air transport. And it means making Europe, together with our car industry, the first electric-vehicle continent by 2030.

Well, that’s idiocy in itself. We know the answer here, a carbon tax. Once we’ve imposed that we sit back and let markets take the strain. But the true fatuity here is this:

Second, Europe must take the lead in the responsible use of resources and become a truly circular economy that minimizes waste. Today, eight billion tons of materials are processed into energy or products annually in the EU. Only 0.6 billion tons – a mere 7.5% – originate from recycling. We must do much better. In addition to delivering on our plastics strategy, we should focus on four priorities: food waste and the bio-economy, textiles, construction, and fast-moving consumer goods. For example, we can begin with an EU initiative to fight the planned obsolescence of household appliances and electronic devices.

Take construction. What is really meant here is cement. Some 8% of global CO2-e emissions. Recycling concrete is insane. It’s possible, sure it is. We take down the old building, we can extract the cement from the concrete and make new cement from that. Which we then use to make more concrete. We would also be using truly vast amounts of energy to do this. Increasing CO2-e emissions by doing so.

What does make sense is to chop up the old concrete and then use it as the infill that we’re going to pour more cement over to make the new stuff. That’s fine, but that’s re-use, not recycling. And it still requires the production of new cement to feed the process.

The idiocy is in trying to have those two conflicting goals. Sure, recycle where it uses fewer resources to do so. Which is what we already do – because using fewer resources is cheaper and thus there’s a profit to be made by recycling. Often though the next bits – the stuff we’re now urged to recycle – costs more to recycle than to make from virgin material. That extra cost being all the proof we need that we’re using more resources to do the recycling than making anew from virgin.

But then, you know, French politicians and idiocy, we’re all so surprised, aren’t we?

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Dodgy GeezerQ46Rhoda KlappJonathan HarstonLeo Savantt Recent comment authors
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manicbeancounter
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My issue is with the moralizing on what “Europe” should do. Climate change is allegedly caused by global emissions, not by European emissions. To get to the desired objective “to limit global warming to 1.5°C relative to the pre-industrial era” it is necessary, but far from sufficient, for the EU to reduce its emissions. The missing part is for the rest of the world to adopt similar policies. There are two reasons this will not happen. First is that developing countries are specifically exempt from any obligation to constrain their emissions under the Rio Declaration 1992. This is recognized in… Read more »

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

“that’s climate change and we’ve all got our opinions on that”, true, but opinions are like the proverbial a*rsehole, everyone has got one. Facts are however facts, few seem to have grasped them. CO2 in the atmosphere is at a very low level, in fact it has been higher for 95% of the time life has been present on earth, fact the temperature today is a/ not rising b/ is at a low level historically. Fact CO2 is an essential life giving trace gas. Fact emitted CO2 only stays in the atmosphere for about 5 years or less. Why is… Read more »

Q46
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Q46

… and CO2 is not and never has been the unique, or dominant or even significant, driver of changes in heat budget or changes in climate. Fact: change in global temperature is not the only driver of changes in climate.

And past extremes of climate change cannot be explained by the ‘experts’, so how can it be credible they know what will happen a hundred/two hundred years from now?

As you say it’s all about grabbing more power.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

In Sheffield we found that the best hardcore for building bypasses was the Stalin-burgs we were busy demolishing.

Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

Same old same old. Due diligence before drastic action. And you can stick your carbon tax where solar panels don’t work.

Q46
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Q46

It is a golden rule, never, never, ever carry out due diligence if there is even the slightest chance it will interfere with your pet idea or indicate you should not do what you want to do.

Q46
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Q46

1,5C. Out of which hat was that number pulled? Well, an increase in temperature of 1,5C causes no discernable change to the Earth’s climate system outside natural variation. But what if the temperature is higher? Well up to 2,5C the net effects will be beneficial and even at 3C it will not be an issue. But here’s a thing. We have done the experiment. The Earth’s Climate is more than 1,5C higher than several centuries ago, and yet here we are, and in the past it has been much higher than that 3C and yet here we all are. Last… Read more »

Dodgy Geezer
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Dodgy Geezer

But watch out for LOWER temperatures! If they happen, deaths go up, agriculture gets worse and humanity suffers.

P.S. What is the correct temperature for the Earth? What is the best temperature for humanity? And are those two the same? It seems to me that these are important questions to know the answer to before we start* messing around with temperatures…

* Always assuming that the puny things we do do actually cause fundamental climate change. Which has never been proven, and always just assumed so far…