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Global media highlights today-The great global warming swindle  

2007-08-15 00:06:43|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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ChinaObertakes  American by 2009
The International Energy Agency recently made the prediction thatChina’s carbon emissions would overtake America’s by 2009.

That may or may not happen, but even if it does, itdoesn’t quite mean that the Chinese are as culpable as Americansfor carbon emissions, because it rather ignores the fact that Chinahas five times the population. Head for head, in 2003 the Chineseemitted 3.2 tonnes of carbon and India 1.19 tonnes. The US, on theother hand, emitted 19.8 tonnes of carbon per capita. The UKemitted 9.4 tonnes, Germany 9.8 tonnes and France, which has a highproportion of energy generated by nuclear power, 6.4 tonnes. Buteven those figures are highly misleading, because they ignore thefact that much of China’s rising carbon emissions are being spewedout in the name of producing goods for Western consumers. These areemissions, of course, which used to come from chimneys inBirmingham and Manchester, before our manufacturing base wasreduced to a shadow of what it was.

If Britainmeets its Kyoto target in 2012 (and it may well do), it won’t bebecause British consumers have made sacrifices to save the planet;it will be because we, like other Western nations, have exported asizeable proportion of our carbon emissions to China.
                                          Specatators Magaazine
                                               

It isn’t just politicians who see in climate change an opportunityto keep the poor in their place.


If you are anenvironmental group wanting to raise awareness of global warmingthrough the Western advertising media, it has become customary tostart with a picture of an emaciated woman wading throughfloodwaters in Bangladesh with her malnourished kids. Whether thewoman and her kids will thank Western environmentalists for theirattentions is questionable.
                          
Take the concept of ‘food miles’, which has made its wayon to the packaging of supermarket food in Britain. The idea is tomake Western consumers feel guilty about buying food flown in fromhalfway across the world and persuade them to choose moreenvironmentally friendly locally grown nosh instead. Yet there isonly a tenuous connection between the distance a foodstuff hastravelled and the carbon emitted in its production anddistribution. For example, a New Zealand study recently revealedthat lamb raised in that country and transported 11,000 miles toBritain causes 688kg of carbon emissions per tonne. Lamb producedand eaten in Britain, on the other hand, causes 2,849kg of carbonemissions per tonne, the greater efficiency of farming in NewZealand more than making up for the energy consumed in transit. Aseparate study by Cranfield University revealed that roses producedin the Netherlands and transported to Britain cause 35,000kg ofcarbon emissions per 12,000 stems, against 600kg of carbonemissions per 12,000 stems of Kenyan roses: the carbon cost offlying the roses to Britain being more than countered by the manualnature of farming in Kenya.

What the concept of food miles does achieve, on the other hand,is very neatly to discriminate against farmers in the far-off ThirdWorld and in favour of local farmers. It is a straightforwardprotectionist device. That so few ‘enlightened’ Western consumersseem able to see this is worrying, but not as depressing as thefailure of consumers to see through the carbon-offsetting business.‘Neutralising’ one’s carbon emissions has expanded fromHollywood stars planting a few trees on their estates to amultimillion pound business much patronised by politicians out toearn brownie points. If you are flying off to the sun this week,the chances are you will have been invited to counter the pollutioncaused by your plane by paying a few pounds to help reduce carbonemissions somewhere else in the world.

At least the naivety of the Hollywood stars who thought theycould neutralise the emissions of fossil fuels by planting trees(which store carbon only for the 100 years or so in which they arealive) was less damaging than some of the carbon-offset schemes onoffer now. Delegates to the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles, forexample, were given a certificate to say that the emissions fromtheir flights had been offset by a scheme to replace the tin roofsof huts in a shantytown suburb of Cape Town with a more insulatingmaterial. In other words, you burn airline fuel, while a SouthAfrican peasant saves heating oil.

What could possibly be wrong with that? Quite a lot, actually.It stands to reason that the carbon emitted by delegates’ flightswill only continue to be offset for as long as the occupants of thehuts carry on living in shanty-town conditions. If, in a couple ofyears’ time, they better themselves to the point that they canafford a home just a little closer to the standard enjoyed by theaverage resident of the first world (never mind one like Al Gore’sTennessee mansion, recently found to consume 20 times as muchenergy as the average US home), they will replace their insulatedshacks with much more power-hungry bungalows. It is the same withcarbon-offset schemes to provide Kenyans with dung-poweredgenerators, replacing Indians’ kerosene lamps with solar-poweredlamps or all the rest. As acts of charity they are one thing, butas carbon-offset schemes they

only work if the recipients continue to live in very basicconditions. Once they aspire to Western, fossil fuel-poweredlifestyles, then the scheme is undone. Needless to say,carbon-offsetting schemes only work in one direction: one can onlyimagine the reaction if a middle-class Kenyan tried to offset thecarbon emissions from his swimming pool by buying Al Gore adung-fired stove.

None of this is to say that the theory of global warming iswrong, or that mankind isn’t facing a man-made climatic disaster— I leave that debate to another time. It is just thatincreasingly the politics appear to be shifting the burden ofcutting carbon emissions on to the world’s poor: they must be keptin a state of noble peasanthood so that we can carry on livingpretty much as before. The attitude of the West can be summed up byTony Blair’s remark when ‘offsetting’ the carbon emissions fromhis holiday last January to Florida: ‘It’s just not practical’to ask people to give up their foreign holidays. Indeed not: farmore practical that we assuage our environmental guilt by makingthe developing world give up their chance to aspire to our standardof living.












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