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The environment, from a layman’s point of view

We constantly hear figures being bandied about by both sides of the environment argument, telling us either that the world is going to end in a matter of decades or that nothing much is wrong.  What is the environmentally uneducated man-in-the-street supposed to make of all this?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is now the bogeyman gas, the demonization of which is in fashion at the moment.  Years ago, when all this “save the planet” stuff first started, it was supposed to be CFCs that were creating a hole in the ozone layer and dooming us all to perdition.  Of course, CFCs came out of old fridges and aerosol cans, and it was found that they could be substituted by other products that performed the same function and yet were not so environmentally damaging.  Once this was in hand all the fun went out of protesting and so the green lobby needed another target, and the CO2 witch hunt began.

CO2 is a much better target for the eco warriors than CFCs because it is produced by so much more things.  It is produced by burning fossil fuels, and so the target range for things to object to is so much greater.  Motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, and power stations are all prime targets for the unwashed protester in the mob, the politician angling for publicity and votes, or the scientist trying to secure both a name for himself and government research grants.  There are a lot of other gasses in the atmosphere and they have got there by a variety of ways, but these are conveniently disregarded by the green lobby and attention seems to be focused solely on CO2.

It seems that the prime target of the eco warriors these days is power stations.  They are portrayed as the works of the devil when it comes to CO2 emissions, and the sooner they are all closed down and replaced by wind turbines and solar panels the better.  However, the practicalities of this are lost on the green lobby and if they were to have their way electrical power would be scarce, intermittent, unreliable and horrendously expensive, which would mean that all our industry would relocate to somewhere that has a sane energy policy.  We have recently seen this with the closure of the steel plant at Redcar.  The steel that would have been produced at Redcar will now be produced somewhere else in the world, probably China, and Chinese steel production causes about twice the pollution per ton as British steel production.  So our idiotic energy policy is responsible for not only  causing damage to our economy but has also put thousands of British steel workers out of a job, and caused about double the amount of pollution to be created.  What a result!

One thing that is never discussed is other causes of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.  The amount of deforestation that is constantly happening throughout the world means less forest to absorb the CO2.  However, the reason for this continued deforestation is the basic environmental problem that is constantly with us but never discussed, and that problem is that in this world there are TOO MANY PEOPLE!  When our illustrious world leaders strut and posture at meetings to discuss world problems they never discuss this one because it is far too difficult for them to even try and find a solution.  They prefer to bury their heads in the sand and hope that the problem will go away on its own.  Anyway, somebody else’s power stations are much easier targets for them to attack.

There is no easy solution to overpopulation, but the first thing to do is to recognize that the problem exists and that is just not happening at the moment.  After having lived and worked in places like Africa, I have been led to believe that people there have as many children as possible so that their children can then look after them in their old age.  In order to break this cycle, perhaps the instigation in Third World countries of a UN pension for people with two children or less might help solve the problem.  I know that this would prove very difficult and highly expensive, but I have yet to see anyone come up with a better idea.

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About Phillip Smith (43 Articles)
Phillip Smith is a retired aircraft maintenance engineer and former serviceman. He has been a member of UKIP since 1995.

5 Comments on The environment, from a layman’s point of view

  1. Does this work???????

  2. Rubbishing Malthus & Co has been going on since the 1960s at least to my knowledge. So it all depends on whether you gauge fashionable/unfashionable in terms of a few years or five decades. It would be interesting to know what the increase in global population has been since Malthus issued his warning. Breathtaking and very worrying I should think for anyone who isn’t complacent on the matter. When we’re all fighting and killing each other for space, land, fresh water and food maybe some people will look back and wonder why steps weren’t taken sooner.

  3. As countries become richer, so agriculture becomes more efficient, requiring less land despite an increasing population. Thus more land can be returned to the wild and pressure on endangered species is reduced. Also, as wealth increases, family sizes tend to decrease and so population stabilises.

    I would argue that we should be encouraging the use of fossil fuels which return CO2 (plant food) back to the atmosphere from whence it came millions of years ago. That way we get economic growth together with increased greenery and food production. A win win situation that can benefit all life on Earth. Real pollutants such as Sulphur and particulates in general can and should be removed. The technology already exists to do so.

    I’ll admit that I’m generally opposed to big Government and especially World Government. But in this instance I don’t think there is any need for it anyway. It seems to me that the CAGW fans gathered in Paris were principally engaged in trying to achieve World Government through the UN. And my impression is that they were and are very keen on population control. See ‘Limits to Growth’, the Club of Rome and the Optimum Population Trust. Fortunately, for us (or me at least), National Governments stepped back from binding commitments.

    Having been deeply unfashionable all my life, I was heartened to hear that you feel that opposition to the ideas of Malthus and Erlich have become fashionable. After all, Erlich is a hero to the CAGW people. Perhaps I’ve been around for too long:)

    I also recommend taking a look at the writings and videos of Patrick Moore PhD, the co-founder of Greenpeace, environmentalist and CAGW sceptic, for more on this.

  4. I agree with Phillip that it IS over-population of the planet by humans that threatens not only our survival as a species, but is already in the process of pushing endangered non-human animals to the brink of extinction. Of course, it’s fashionable these days (and has been for some time) to rubbish Malthus and others who have warned of human over-population, but instead of looking at historical warnings, why not observe what is actually happening NOW? Rescue missions worldwide trying to save animal species threatened by loss of habitat caused by humans encroaching more and more to create living space for themselves; species becoming extinct every day; countless poachers killing animals wholesale to keep their ever-growing families, or more likely to enrich themselves or their bosses, robbing the rest of us of their existence and beauty and ruining the balance of nature. Babies born to families with no resources into poverty, illness and disease to suffer horribly before dying.
    In nature, no species can over-produce itself without suffering terrible consequences. What makes our arrogant species think it is any different?
    As Phillip says, none of the shouty greens ever address the real cause of gross pollution, desertification, greenhouse gases, global warming etc. They claim it is all human-made, but never state the obvious fact that there are too many humans on the planet all hyper-consuming land, food, water and every other resource going. Only the Chinese have attempted to reduce their reproduction rates. Their methods were clumsy and often cruel, but at least they had the nouse and guts to acknowledge and tackle the problem instead of denying it exists.
    Instead of all that futile hot air about the environment expelled in Paris recently, the gathered nations should have been discussing a range of humane methods to keep the global population under control.

  5. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with the early part of your article, I’m afraid I cannot agree with your statement about there being too many people. This is the Malthusian argument that was wrong then, wrong when Paul Erlich repeated it, and in my view, wrong now.

    The amount of land in the world under agriculture has actually been in decline in recent years due to gains in productivity. There may be some limit to the growth of population but we are nowhere near it yet.
    In addition, the increase in CO2 has actually helped to green the planet. More CO2 is being taken up by greenery now than at any time since the 1980s and probably much earlier. There has been deforestation in some places and I agree that that is regrettable but overall the planet is greener.

    May I suggest looking at some of Matt Ridley’s writings and videos for more information. The news is really rather good.

    A final thought. People seem to have smaller families once their countries become richer and child mortality declines. Trade is probably the best way to achieve this. Aid is not and I would definitely not want the UN to have far reaching powers over people’s reproduction or anything much else.

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