Uncategorized

Energy consumption debunktion

By Gavin, 5th August 2007

Kind of what you’d expect from the Media, but it’s still saddening to see.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

.. it’s like much of the climate change backlash and genuine general confusion: “let’s just say it’s all greenwash, let’s debunk everything, find the flaws, but at all costs avoid the presentation of any actual solutions. And Heaven forbid that we mention what’s actually going on”.

But I love some of the reader comments… “The problem we have is there are too many miserable middle and old aged people who aren’t dead”. He has a point there. There are a few more commentators who call for genocide as the most practical solutions – the trouble is that this is actually likely to happen if we just keep on the way we have been (e.g. if 500 million people run out of water, you get wars).

Anyway, here’s some real data that relates to the article;

1. They assume 0.188 kgCO2/km, which is the medium petrol car figure in AMEE, and is not valid for a single short trip.

2. If you weren’t going to the shop, you would presumably be doing something that did involve moving muscles – breathing for example. Thus your personal CO2 emissions from *existing* are not really part of this calculation. Driving doesn’t make you somehow exist less.

3. The meat/dairy argument is comparing apples with cheeseburgers..

Everyone (especially the whole of the media) needs to work an awful lot harder to present what is a genuinely complex issue, and one that strikes at the fabric of how we’ve chosen to live. It’s way beyond just “Climate Change”. It’s no surprise we’re all finding it hard, but it’s very hard to have an informed debate when no one seems the least bit interested in what’s actually going on or spending the time to learn about the details.

There are two choices, neither of which actually have anything to do with your “belief” in climate change.

Choice A is so eloquently put in one of the reader comments, I can only quote it;

Choice A) “Racing motorcycles, BASE jumping and hot-footing it from one brothel to another whilst high on a cocktail of drugs, drink and junk food until one or more of the aforementioned results in a youthful but exhilarating death.”

Choice B is my preferred view on the world.

Choice B) Use less energy. Enable scale and thus access to better technology to more people. Reduce our own levels of consumption by being vastly more efficient. Avoid Mass Extinction Events by being less stupid (albeit that we do not have a good track record on that last point).

Corollary: Choice (B) doesn’t preclude anyone from doing (A). In fact you might be able to do (A) for longer. However, (A) tends to preclude (B) and therefore ruins it for the rest of us.

Disclaimer