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.