19 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion ............ too late?

Climate Change has enough scientific evidence to support it to convince even the most sceptical of people (excepting Mr Trump) of its growing impact on the lives of some people who live on Planet Earth. I say 'some people' because, thus far, I don't think that climate change has materially affected me, at least not in any overtly negative manner. But the fact is that scientists have been considering the potential of human activity to influence global climate since the 1890s, around the same time that Daimler and Benz were getting together. Those scientists were considering the impact of human activity for, at that time, about 100 years and here we are 100+ years later, with some people getting their knickers in a twist about just how bad its going to get.

Well, from where I sit, I think that we've missed the boat some decades ago and, right now, we are looking at a future where the Sahara may well reach the north pole. And there is probably very little that we can do about it other than adapt. Read Jem Bendall on the subject.

The issue with Extinction Rebellion is that whilst they demand that 'the government tell the truth' about climate change, I suspect that the truth is rather uglier than any of them imagine. No-one, to the best of my knowledge, has mentioned global population and whether or not it is sustainable at current levels. I have read some research (possibly questionable) which suggests that a 'sustainable global population', at European standards of living, is 2.5Bn. Today we are at 7.5Bn and rising and a young member of ER suggested to me that global population would stabilise at 11Bn. I'd be interested to find out who is peddling that story.

Maybe in parallel with carbon reduction measures, the government might consider removing all the tax advantages accruing to having children, maybe even make it beneficial in taxation terms for people not to have children. Maybe organisations like the Catholic Church might reconsider it position on birth control, particularly in parts of the Third World where the physical environment is already too harsh to support growing communities.

Extinction Rebellion also need to publish their plan for the future rather than leaving it up to government or a 'citizen's panel' to do their thinking for them. They need to face up to the really ugly truths that we face about consumption generally and how, and if, we can build down to a zero carbon economy. Maybe then yoga on Waterloo Bridge might be replaced by something rather more practical.