Everyone has gone mad and I’ve had enough of it.
Extinction Rebellion say we’re all going to die from a climate-related catastrophe if we don’t go carbon neutral by 2025. That’s 5 years away. (Actually they’ve already started pushing the time-frame back, but let’s ignore that for now). Greta Thunberg reckons we’ve already entered our extinction event.
They’re both wrong, obviously. Just like the chem-trail loons and the flat-earthers. And that’s fine. Being wrong is OK. Sometimes it’s funny. But the consequences of people taking them seriously are disastrous on several levels – and for some reason, seemingly sensible people are actually taking them seriously.
Let’s cut to the chase…
- Is the climate changing? Yes
- Are we contributing to it? Yes, probably
- Would it be happening anyway? Probably, sooner or later.
- Do we fully understand the scale of our contribution to it? No
- Are we going to go extinct if we don’t go carbon-neutral by 2025? No
Calling out the alarmism by Extinction Rebellion and Greta for what it is – alarmist claptrap – is not a reason to attack someone with ‘hurr durr sO You tHiNK We SHoULd dO NOthInG OK BOOMER’ or ‘SToP BulLyINg a KId’.
So, what are the consequences of taking Extinction Rebellion and Greta seriously?
Consequence 1: Environmentalism becomes toxic. We’ve been here before. Everyone knows we’re not about to die from an extinction-level event. Politicians and the media fawning over disruptive protesters who stop ambulances getting to hospitals – and a vulnerable child skipping school – turns people off being green at all. Environmentalism was doing really well. People had started to care. They were reducing plastics, concerned about air quality, thinking about electric cars. Extinction Rebellion and Greta will destroy that good-will. They are clearly counterproductive – Watermelons concealing anti-capitalist whims.
Consequence 2: If we de-carbonise too quickly we’ll suffer huge economic damage. The technology to do so in the time-frame they want does not exist. The ensuing recession would risk the lives of thousands, as we’ll be unable to do things that we take for granted – using transport, eating the food we enjoy and keeping our homes warm. Camping is fun for a few days but never fun in winter.
Consequence 3: If a comparatively tiny contributor to global emissions like the UK (around 1%) goes into a self-induced eco-recession, there will be no way to convince the countries emitting the most to do the same. Why would they?
Of course this alarmism has an agenda. That agenda is revolution. Just look at the founder of Extinction Rebellion and you’ll realise what his game is. If you support Extinction Rebellion, you’re playing his game.
Don’t do that. He’s dangerous.
So, can the rational thinkers – or at the very least, adults – take charge please?
What if you don’t think climate change has anything to do with human activity? That’s fine. There are plenty of reasons to think that. You might be right. But truth is it’s irrelevant because we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels sooner or later anyway. Not only are they a finite resource which will become increasingly expensive as they become increasingly scarce, but they’re also heavily concentrated in countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela.
When Iran bombed Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities last year the price of oil jumped by 20% overnight. That’s a more expensive school-run, that’s more expensive goods on the shelves. That’s inflation in the UK – all because of two countries in the Middle East who hate each other.
I don’t want my kid’s fuel security dependent on countries like that. Do you?
So, let’s put aside the ‘believer’ and ‘denier’ rhetoric, ignore the crackpots and pull together to diversify away from fossil fuels in a calm, measured and sensible manner. Let’s be honest about what we can achieve, what we can’t, and what the consequences will be.
Oh, and if EU countries like Germany could go ahead and not open new gas pipelines to Russia while pontificating about fossils fuels and wagging their finger at the rest of the world, that’d be great.
There’s a reason nobody believes the alarmist doomsayer bollocks – it’s because we’ve heard it all before. Check the date stamps.
This article is an edited version of a popular Twitter thread which can be seen in its original here. Rich is a geotechnical engineer working in the mining industry.