Zero emissions by 2050


Just before our dysfunctional Government imploded due to the Brexit debacle and before it was forced to divert all attention to the Coronavirus pandemic, it announced yet another empty and meaningless aspiration to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to almost zero by 2050

This has absolutely NO CHANCE of success, mainly for the following reasons:

  1. At any one time, there are normally approximately one million people in the air, producing a massive carbon footprint without a care in the world. Do you think, for one minute, that these people are going to give up their right to fly all over the planet to save it? NO CHANCE
  2. Do you think that the feckless, tattooed drunks that fill our airports every weekend are going to give up their week in Benidorm or their stag party in Barbados? NO CHANCE
  3. Goodness only knows how many petrol/diesel/hybrid cars, buses, vans and trucks are trundling around the planet at any one time but can any of us really contemplate giving up the freedom that personal transport provides to stand waiting at a bus stop? NO CHANCE
  4. Do you think that people in their Chelsea tractors and all their smaller imitations are suddenly going to stop sitting with their engines running outside schools? NO CHANCE
  5. Reducing the amount of meat that we eat has proven health benefits but do we honestly think that everyone is going to give up eating meat just to save the planet? NO CHANCE
  6. What are the chances of supermarkets reducing the ridiculous plethora of choices of stuff from all over the world, all wrapped in plastic, just to save the planet? NO CHANCE
  7. What are the chances of us giving up recreational online shopping which results in warehouses full of stuff we don’t need and roads teaming with diesel white vans? NO CHANCE
  8. The new homes (and other buildings) we are building in the UK right now are some of the worst in the developed world for energy conservation. Do you think the Government will introduce legislation to make all new buildings close to zero-carbon anytime soon? NO CHANCE
  9. What are the chances of people spending money on improving their homes (and other buildings) in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to near zero? NO CHANCE
  10. There are a tiny number of people in the UK who have what one might call a ‘social conscience’ and are prepared to make personal sacrifices and adjustments to their lifestyle in order to reduce their carbon footprint. What are the chances of the majority of people in the UK, who don’t care at all about Climate Change, becoming less selfish? NO CHANCE

I don’t fly, I don’t eat meat and I live and work in one of a tiny number of buildings in the UK which is in Band A for energy demand. I had to build it myself because you cannot buy a Band A home on the open market, let alone one which is zero-carbon. I drive a diesel car so although I have taken some steps to reduce my own carbon footprint, the greenhouse gas emissions which my life on this planet produces are still huge. In order to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions to near zero over the next thirty years, I will have to make further massive adjustments to my lifestyle and personal mobility

If most of the inhabitants of the UK are unwilling or unable to make those massive adjustments to their lifestyle and behaviour, then the chances of the UK reaching zero emissions by 2050 are zero

The current lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an 8% reduction in emissions with most planes grounded, most vehicles parked and some wonderful Spring weather. This gives us some idea of how much our indulgent lifestyle, fed by global trade patterns that have been shown to be totally unsustainable, will have to change radically if we are to save the planet from destruction

Philip Newbold

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