Bob Geldof on Live Earth: “I hope they’re a success. But why is Gore actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody’s known about that problem for years.”
But some don’t. I keep hearing about people who routinely use their clothes dryers for everything. Or people who leave lots of lights on around the house when they’ve settled into the lounge room to watch TV for the evening. Or buy huge TVs that burn lots of power. Or buy fleets of 4WDs to drive around town. Or leave the heating on in empty rooms. Or, like one of my neighbours, drive the 5 minute walk to the supermarket (OK, maybe he’s getting more than he can carry).
And offsets aren’t everything, either. Greenfleet is already running out of land to plant trees, let alone if everybody did it. And such schemes don’t take into account future loss of carbon through things such as bushfire.
It’s like the three Rs, the first of which often gets forgotten: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Offsetting them helps, but it’s far from ideal. Reducing, thus not producing the emissions in the first place, is better.
A lot of people know what’s going on, and are doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint. Some really don’t know, and don’t care.
But when people say they’re not going to do anything because they don’t believe carbon emissions make a difference, they’re ignoring that there is a myriad of other benefits from cutting pollution. Take my pet cause, public transport. Encouraging and enabling people to drive less is not just about cutting emissions. It also has benefits in, off the top of my head: clean air, road space, congestion, oil dependence/peak oil, transport costs, road toll, social isolation, equity/access to work and education, obesity, road rage, street crime. It’s not all about emissions.
And then there’s other people, who know about it, but think others should do all the hard yards.
Maybe it’s time for personal carbon trading! Apparently Caltex is proposing it, with the RACV objecting.
Yes? No? Well consider this (though I wonder if there’s evidence to back it up):
In recent years wealthy Texans have discovered the joys of sitting in front of a log fire. As it is usually hot in Texas they must turn their air conditioners up so they can enjoy the cosy warmth from their hearths. — Clive Hamilton.