Flat White

Net Zero frivolity and our emissions reduction fantasy

21 January 2022

12:00 PM

21 January 2022

12:00 PM

One of the most tragic aspects of the increasingly unhinged focus on reducing human CO2 emissions at ‘almost all costs’ is the ridiculous amount of wasted time, effort, and bureaucracy (excuse the tautology) that is involved.

In an effort to somehow control the future global climate, with absolutely no guarantees nor precedents, let alone even a basic understanding of myriad potential planet altering processes (such as this week’s massive volcano in Tonga), governments and misguided alarmists around the world are actively diverting precious human endeavour, capital, and animal spirits on activities and ideas that are extremely spurious and speculative.

This is undoubtedly producing terrible outcomes for humanity as a whole.

For example, juxtapose the ridiculous concept of ‘carbon capture and storage’, which is currently absorbing massive amounts of investment, brainpower, and raw materials (yet, ironically, relatively tiny amounts of actual CO2 – thank the gods) with the simple, proven benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels in relation to planetary greening. Add to this the fact that commercial greenhouses producing food for world populations inject major amounts of CO2 into their growing environments, to get a feel for just how stupid and counter-productive some of these emissions reductions efforts can be.

Imagine if the estimated US $3.5 billion currently being spent on carbon capture was used for, I don’t know, providing more energy to the 3 billion or so people in various states of energy poverty (a demographic growing by the day in freezing Europe).

This recent article by Resilience, an organisation ‘dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels’, is another good example of how recent emissions reductions efforts – which focus on somehow improving the global climate in 20, 30, and 80 year’s time – have contributed to terrible conditions for real humans living today.

Reading through the article, and with a reasonable understanding of how chaotic the Earth’s climate really is, questions like, ‘What is this all for? What if we didn’t spend time on all of this? What are you really trying to achieve?’ constantly come to mind (at least for us it did).

Just think of the time and effort put into the article itself: into all of the analysis and sub-analysis, of calling and emailing different climate ‘experts’, of positing various scenarios and solutions (which are all entirely based on the concept of trading off CO2 emissions reductions with the constant and growing need to supply energy to human populations). All that ‘work’ would be saved and available for other endeavours if this religious-like obsession with the magical, climate-controlling qualities of anthropogenic CO2 was laid to rest and consigned to the waste bin of stupid, pointless ideas. Doing so would free up massive amounts of intellect, time, and ‘energy’ for activities that really will lead to further human development.

And even if you really do, deep down, believe in the nigh-mythical and entirely unscientific (look at the full geologic record of Earth’s CO2 and temperature levels) CO2 planet control knob theory, the case for humans coming together – geopolitically, intellectually, economically, and philosophically – to make a dent in the kinds of changes that would be required to control the Earth’s climate, is as weak as non-alcoholic beer. And we all know it!

Yet the laughably dystopic ‘anthropogenic CO2 must be stopped’ orchestra plays on.

Instead of relentlessly attempting to create the best conditions for today’s populations to flourish and continue the spectacular rise of human development indices around the world – almost exclusively fossil fuel driven – many of our biggest brains prefer to gamble with very poor odds and no form guide toward unrealistic and essentially pointless attempts to reduce emissions and ensure a somehow ‘better’ climate. And all for a future group of humans that will undoubtedly – barring World War III, a mega-volcano, or earthquake – enjoy a much wealthier, more technologically advanced, stronger, and healthier society than we have today.

Incredibly, many won’t see a problem with the decision to have a punt on attempts to alter the planet’s climate system in some unambiguously positive way, even if it means knowingly spending less time and effort on helping the world’s present-day poor and wretched.

But the problem goes beyond a simple allocation of resources. This is not a matter of encouraging, supporting, and spending your own time and money on trying to reduce your own emissions, and perhaps those of the businesses and organisations you directly have some influence over.

The likes of the Net Zero and Extinction Rebellion crowds, along with an increasing number of ignorami sympathetic to their illogical arguments, are actively prohibiting or making more difficult, by international laws and regulations, the utilization of the very resources and wondrous energy supplies that built their elite, incredibly wealthy lifestyles and communications platforms in the first place.

Playing god by limiting the energy supplies of around 3 billion people currently in energy poverty (and of all humans, when it comes down to it) with only their entirely pessimistic, historically wildly inaccurate, and shotgun-style predictions of doom and gloom as rationale.

It is truly a travesty and, just like most wars and chronic recreational drug use, is a massive waste of human potential, with the only trade-offs being visions of impossible utopias and/or salvation from (or perhaps submission to) illusory demons… just like most wars and chronic recreational drug use.

Simon Thomas writes for the Primate v. Climate website, focused on news related to energy poverty.

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