"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Jul 7, 2007

Live Earth Concerts

Watching the Live Earth Concerts on the TV today revealed the interesting spectacle of TV presenters engaging in a spot of bear baiting with the performers by asking them what exactly they were doing to reduce their carbon footprints.

Now the life of a rock star as exemplified wonderfully by Spinal Tap is not exactly well known for it's frugality or lack of excess. Presumably keeping a Harem full of eager groupies must incur some sort of carbon cost. There's all that huffing and puffing with the groupies for a start.

Then there is the obligatory private jet for those that have truly "made it", and the limousines, and all those guitar and voice amps left on standby just in case inspiration strikes. There's also the cost of heating the outdoor swimming pool at the mansion of course and having James the Butler fill it for you.

Such an example our rock gods set us. How will we live up to it?

Of course we should not be too cynical. The cause is indeed a worthy one. Only those who truly have disappeared up their own backsides still refuse to accept the evidence of man made global warming. So the only real question is will we all start really grappling with the problem and do something about it?

The interesting thing is that actually such action makes a lot of economic sense. For the individual there can be quite good savings to be had from switching of lights, insulating the house etc etc. And of course for the Christians among us they can also pat themselves on the back that they are following the Bible encouragement to husband the earths resources.

For companies who develop the new technologies there are potential vast new markets. Indeed some have talked about us being on the verge of a second industrial revolution. Those countries who really adopt the new approaches and develop new industries may find themselves riding the crest of this wave.

And for those who don't? Welcome to the world of rising oil prices. Welcome to the world of insecure power supplies. Welcome to the world of paying more for your energy and seeing your money fritter away through your uninsulated walls. Welcome to a world of wars and famine.

The problem is that this is not something that just some of us can tackle. All around the globe a new reality will need to be grappled with. If this does not happen then we should fear for the kind of world that we will leave to our children and to their children.

So don't laugh too hard as the rock stars struggle to tackle their "carbon footprints" - at least they are out there with the message and beginning to try to do something.

"er No need to fill the pool tonight James. I'm only having a couple of groupies round so we''ll make do with the jacuzzi!"


Looney said...

Bunc, probably I am off in my own universe, but I don't think the question is one of "do something" vs. "do nothing". It is given we will "do something", what are the options?

At this point, the Al Gores and Greens usually come up with a Big Brother solution that involves more regulations and armies of bureaucrats. The corrupt carbon trading schemes are the immediate result along with using a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of ethanol. There are various Dr. Strangelove solutions that reduce carbon usage by nuking refineries and oil terminals or merely funding terrorists to do the same.

In the US, most of the carbon footprint is the result of government interference. Thus, we have things like banning parking garages and high rise construction next to mass transit stations. There are a thousand ways to encourage a reduction in carbon usage which doesn't involve new regulations or government subsidies.

The real question is which option we choose.

Bunc said...

Interesting point Looney - what proposals would you put forward that you think would be effective?

Looney said...

The Economist mainly suggests moving taxes from something like income to crude oil or mined coal. Net government revenues (and expenses to the population) could be kept roughly the same, but the incentives to conserve would then soar and anyone who could find a solution would be rewarded. Under the current methods, the government gives subsidies for new technologies and this process is extremely corruptable.

In the US, zoning laws and criminal rights are driving a lot of the carbon usage. Who wants to live near a place where gangs and drug dealers are the local law & order?

Bunc said...

Like you I am not convinced that the carbon trading schemes are the answer, and i have seen suggestions that they can be manipulated.

The suggestion that taxes are moved from income to source carbon commodities is an interesting one.
Some problems strike me in regard to this solution but they could probably be overcome.

If you take a cold climate like Scotland, for a poor person their heating costs will represent a very sizeable percentage of their overall income. If taxes were put on the source commodities this would presumably show up heavily in power costs to consumers.

The consequence of this is that the effective tax rate for poorer people would in fact be higher than for richer people. There would need to be some way to reduce this potential impact - so that the passed on taxes for carbon usage showed through most heavily in non-essential consumption goods and less on essential for life products such as home heating etc.

If that could be achieved then the tax spread could be kept broadly as it is which in most countries tends to be re-distributive to a greater or lesser extent.

Anonymous said...

With climate change planet unable to sustain human life....we having some time as yet then progresses rapidly to the end,I am sure that you agree I say humanity can not continue on its present course, brutality injustice be so great. However end is but an ending of a chapter not story of humanity.The Universe created that it Sustain Human life that via heart as brain comes experience as understanding, we have already come through many chapters,in development.Reaching present stage,having tired us all out, taken all to limits of the brains capability...on material level having brought own downfall, the spiritual we having made great progress....the planet will heal itself then being our return.... Allah be Praised < > God is Great.

Bunc said...

Anonymous you said "spiritual we haing made great progress". I utterly disagree. We are in great danger of entering a new dark age when the forces of ignorance and religious and political fundamentalism are at risk of getting the upper hand. this is the time for all moderate rational thinking people to take a stand against religious and political nuts who seem to be everywhere these days.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it be a case of standing against religious as the politically Missguided (having read some of your writing it be you fit into one or both of such molds)but rather to lay as alight the path that all find way home.

Bunc said...

"the path that all find the way home"???
If you wish to rely on some outdated medieval book to guide the decisions on how you and your community lead your life then that is of course entiirely up to you.

As for me I see no logic as to why I should choose to say the Bible over for example the Koran or the Hindu scriptures etc etc. these were all texts written by particular peoples at particular places and times in human development. Their only relevance to me as a modern human is as historical texts which show some of the history of human thought and ethics.

Far too many "people of the book" , whatever their particuular book happens to be, simply turn out to be people of blood and intolerance. that applies as much to christian fiundamentalists as it does to islamic, hindu or other religious fundamentalists.

Anonymous said...


Bunc said...

Anonymous I certainly dont uncritically support the USA but then neither am I prepared to condemn them either. Whats that old saying " attend to the mote the plank in your own eye before you concern yourself with the mote in mine" - or something like that.

The US certainly has to curtail its consumerist habits and hasnt always acted justly that is certainly true. But to pretend that all the ills of the pooor are somehow around the world are somehow to be laid at the feet of the US is naive to say the least.

Take just one current example - exactly what do the US or the UK have to do with the current suffering of the people of zimbabwe at the hands of the Mugabe regime huh?

And the violence in Iraq - it woould all stop tommorrow if muslim "borthers" stopped slaughtering each other and people let go of their tribal and sectarian thinking and actually pulled behind the reconstruction of their country.

Both Germany and Japan recovered from the destruction of WW11 by focussing their efforts on reconstructing their countries and not by killing each other and not by throwing away their chance to democtratise their countries.

And before you mention Iraq and Afghanistan again - please remember that there were massive turn outs in the elections in both countries so there clearly is much desire for the "imposed" democracy that the US has brought.

It is political islam in its fundamentalist and anti-democratic forms which is wreaking havoc in Mulim countries. The answer for Muslim countries does not lie in some dusty old book written by a "prophet" hundreds of years ago. It lies in joining the modern world and learning some tolerance for others.

Bunc said...

Please excuse my spelling in that last comment - it was terrible.

Anonymous said...


Bunc said...

Anonymous - If you want to assert that soemthing is utter bullshit it would help if you say what you think is bullshit and offer some evidence.

Anonymous said...

USA abandonment of international law having left a trail of death destruction,this wot you should address...not further insult to those, already victims of great injustice..being your judgement far from equal,in its measure..

Bunc said...

It is fundamentalist Islam that is causing a trail of bloodshed and destruction. When was the last time you heard of christians coing onto the streets in their hundreds of thousands calling for the beheading of the author of a cartoon. Primitive and backward cults like political Islam (and right wing christian ideologues)are the cause of most of the worlds troubles.

Anonymous said...

Well seems they are not doing it calling from the streets rather by planes bombing, as from helicopter gunships, as from long range field artillary, sanctions depriving of basic needs,however you have every right in making your point.To me those killed be they british iraqi american,as afghan,it pointless.

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