Zero Carbon Emissions - A Moral Duty

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vetuste_ennemi | 23:41 Wed 12th Jun 2019 | News
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Last throw of the political die by Ms ("must leave a good legacy - last one didn't work") May. To be accomplished by 2050?

Can all you economic experts and climate scientists who know with absolute certainty that a No Deal Brexit will be an economic catastrophe for the UK please explain why the doubling, or whatever of fuel prices, plus the infrastructure costs required, plus the replacement of all boilers and microwaves, to achieve May's target will not[i be an economic disaster?

Will the planet be any safer if May's target is achieved?

Can you suggest scenarios in which it [i]won't], or is that unimaginable?

Are you worried at all by this march to the "cliff edge"??


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The proposals for zero emissions are a waste of space. The growth of economies in China, India and Africa will make any efforts by this country look microscopic.
It is possible -- indeed, probably quite reasonable to see the infrastructure costs, etc, as investment rather than a drain. Perhaps even if it's done smartly many of the other necessary measures can be made to be, if not money-making, then at least not economically ruinous. But really you're trying to set up entire new industries, or accentuate existing ones at the expense of old ones, and I don't think anyone can pretend that this will go smoothly or be easy.

Not sure how to answer the Brexit comparison, except to point out that it's at best only tangentially related, and that if they are both damaging to the economy then it would be for vastly different reasons.

In pure climate terms, the target of net-zero Carbon emissions by 2050 is actually not nearly ambitious enough, and we should "really" be aiming for 2030. But that is impossible in practice, and it's better to be cautiously optimistic that this gets the UK moving in the right direction, and maybe prompting the rest of the world to follow. It may or may not surprise you to learn, v-e, that no matter how much I care about this subject, there are people who are even more passionate about it, and I've been somewhat frustrated by how dismissive they seem to be of this new measure.
Also, 10CS is only half-right. Clearly, the UK cannot on its own do a thing to change the world's climate. But what it can do is set a trend. If we were to show that it's possible to invest heavily in green energies and economically-friendly practices while maintaining a strong economy, then other countries will (hopefully) follow. And, if not, then at least we tried.
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//...that if they are both damaging to the economy then it would be for vastly different reasons//

Ah, I see there's a moral principle we share, Jim: we're both prepared to make a personal monetary sacrifice for a cause we believe in.

My cause as a person with parochial affections is national sovereignty, and yours, as a citizen of the world, is leading the Children's Crusade.
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Children's crusade a poor analogy. Must do better, VE.
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...even poorer metaphor.
I was typing a different reply but as I was writing it I could sort of see what you mean about having a common moral principle, as least superficially. As far as I am concerned, the economic effects of chasing net-zero carbon will be either economically beneficial straightaway, or well worth the costs in the long run -- and, yes, I guess you *could* replace "No Deal Brexit" in that sentence and adopt it for yourself.

On the other hand, politics isn't just about principle.
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May I sum up your argument like this, Jim:

Firstly, that the problem must be tackled immediately otherwise the human race is out of business.

Secondly, that committed unilateral action by the UK has value only in as far it excites the conscience of the world's biggest "polluters" (apologies, CO2, you don't deserve that slur), and persuades them to act with equal commitment and quickly. And that they are only likely to be perusaded if the Uk can demontrate that it is "possible to invest heavily in green energies and economically-friendly practices while maintaining a strong economy".

You do understand the two uncertainties in the second part (if I've represented your point correctly), don't you, Jim.

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"Filling stations" everywhere for electric cars.

Out with Gas fired combi-boilers and in with hydrogen boilers (what dey den?). Every home in the country. How much one of dem den? Assume we pass a law so every home which has got somebody working for a living is forced to replace old lamp with new, then who pays for all the new lamps in those homes where nobody works for a living?

You can see imaginary horrors, like a child who's frightened of the dark, Jim, in a No Deal Brexit, but you can't see the very real and obvious costs in this self-immolation.
the government’s railways policy is entirely at odds with this commitment. in declaring electrification schemes “too disruptive” (too expensive more like) failing grayling has forced train companies down the route of hybrids. much new stock has Diesel engines (which add weight, are slower and expensive to maintain) indeed many old electric trains are being retro fitted with diesel generators. this has effectively killed railway electrification for the next 40 years (the life of the new trains), which is well beyond the holy grail of 2050.
In the light of this countrys' declining production output, it just seems ridiculous to me. It's just a dream. One for the John Lennons' of this world.
I can't wait for the next crisis, this one is getting so tired and clichéd.
We need fresh doom and we need it now.

Off to plant a tree now to offset my wasteful existence.
Better plant a forest Doug ;-/
I’ve had leave voters tell me one of the reasons they voted leave was so they could still buy the old energy gobbling lightbulbs. Strange world innit.
I don't suppose any legislation in respect of this will provide any detail on how to achieve the targets that will be mandated. take the uk's supply chain. practically everything consumed in the uk arrives by truck. the world has yet to beat a path to the door of anyone who might conceive of a replacement for the diesel truck engine; hydrogen power for cars is years away, never mind anything on the scale needed to power a 44, 60 or 80 tonne truck. delivery drones? maybe ok for your amazon x-box games but you'd need 40-50 of the things to service the average Eddie Stobart curtain sider. how much space would you need at Dover Docks for a truck-to-drone transshipment area? surely they're not thinking of drones that could carry 40 foot containers? could you imagine the sky swarming with squadrons of those?

ok an exaggeration - but this isn't going to be solved by planting few thousand windmills.
I think Mrs May is joining Jeremy Corbyn in his school of thought - it doesn't matter how daft my ideas and schemes are, I won't be around to see them implemented, I will have tefloned away elsewhere out of reach.

The notion of the UK thinking its carbon emissions, rising or falling, make half-an-ounce of difference to the world's climate is fatuous in the extreme.

Massively growing ecconomies like China and India are emitting away with gusto as their infrastructre and manufacturing grow at a rapid rate - showing no signs of the angst and handwringing that the climate changers think we all should exhibit.

If, for example, we stop manufacturing steel, then our carbon emissions for that process will stop - but then we will import cheap steel from China, who'se emissions will rise to meet our demand.

It's a nonsense, and Mrs May is obviously giddy with the thought of walking away from the nonsense of leadership, and thinking happy dreamy (and ludicrous!) thoughts as she goes.
pointless in itself, anything wee do will be dwarfed by china/US et al but I suppose we'd be setting an example. Yes the economic effect would far exceed no deal brexit but yes as jim says it could be considered and infrastructure investment. I still don't see how no deal with be a "catastrophe". In the short term things will be up in the air but very quickly we'll do what is necessary, including trade deals with the EUSSR, to get back on track unencumbered by all the political tish. No deal just means we'll do the deals later once we are out.
TTT - // … but I suppose we'd be setting an example … //

It's a nice idea, that the world would take its moral lead from the UK, but from my experience, when money walks in through the door, examples fly out of the window.
As an aim it is all very well. As a legal commitment it seems daft to me. It's good to aim high and even if you don't make it, achieve more than you otherwise would. Opening yourself up to penalties for finding you've other commitments and stretched yourself too far simply sounds masochistic.
// You do understand the two uncertainties in the second part (if I've represented your point correctly), don't you, Jim. //

Yes, I do. But even if the aim of persuading others to follow our lead fails, it still seems well worth trying. Mentioning the "cliff edge" in your OP seemed a bit odd, to me: Climate Change is the ultimate cliff edge.

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