Sunday, November 12, 2006

Drastic Measures


I've been working on some remarks for a Vision dinner that I am hosting this week, and I'm going to include George Monbiot's 10 points of action that was published in the Guardian two weeks ago. It goes a long way in demonstrating what kind of changes we need to be thinking about as we truly begin to deal with the real issues of our time, Climate Change and Resource Depletion.

I've edited it quite a lot, so go to the original for the complete story.

“So how do we do it without bringing civilisation crashing down? Here is a plan for drastic but affordable action that the government could take. It goes much further than the proposals discussed by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown yesterday, for the reason that this is what the science demands.

1. Set a target for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions based on the latest science.

2. Use that target to set an annual carbon cap, which falls on the ski-jump trajectory. Then use the cap to set a personal carbon ration. Every citizen is given a free annual quota of carbon dioxide. He or she spends it by buying gas and electricity, petrol and train and plane tickets.

3. Introduce a new set of building regulations imposing strict energy-efficiency requirements.

4. Ban the sale of incandescent lightbulbs, patio heaters, garden floodlights and other wasteful and unnecessary technologies.

5. Redeploy money now earmarked for new nuclear missiles towards a massive investment in energy generation and distribution. Two schemes in particular require government support to make them commercially viable: very large wind farms, many miles offshore, connected to the grid with high-voltage direct-current cables; and a hydrogen pipeline network to take over from the natural gas grid as the primary means of delivering fuel for home heating.

6. Promote the development of a new national coach network. City-centre coach stations are shut down and moved to motorway junctions. Urban public transport networks are extended to meet them. The coaches travel on dedicated lanes and never leave the motorways.

7. Oblige all chains of filling stations to supply leasable electric car batteries. The batteries are charged overnight with surplus electricity from offshore wind farms.

8. Abandon the road-building and road-widening programme, and spend the money on tackling climate change.

9. Freeze and then reduce UK airport capacity.

10. Legislate for the closure of all out-of-town superstores.

Now, George is not a scientist or an engineer,

But his basic ideas capture the essense of how we need to think.

We will need to completely rethink our transportation habits.

We will need to use communication instead of transportation

whenever we can.

We will need to forge a new solid state economy,

that is efficient, and smart.

I may not agree with George's ideas for action.

But I like his recognition that drastic measures are needed.



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art courtesy of John Van Alstine


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oz said "I may not agree with George's ideas for action.But I like his recognition that drastic measures are needed Now".

I think we passed the point of urgency a long time ago and that now without some serendipitous intervention we are done for, and that the best hope for such intervention is to be deserving of it. For me to be deserving I must act as if I am the sole cause of the entire problem and clean up my own act regardless of what anyone else does.

Will I do that? I don't know. Stay tuned it is an exciting story.


9:04 AM  

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