I think the biggest problem we (collectively) have with this debate is that many of us (YMMV) are simply in denial about the reality of the carbon pollution equation.
There is now no doubt whatsoever in the scientific community (other than a few politically motivated nutters) that the amount of carbon dioxide we humans are pumping into the atmosphere will have some
detrimental effects on global climate, weather
Where the debate continues is around *how much of an impact, what do we do about it, who does it, and when*.
Those on the left of the political spectrum favour immediate measures to begin to reduce the total global carbon emissions, in order to limit any furture effects on climate and the biosphere. Some of their suggestions are downright silly. Banning cars, for example.
Those on the right claim it's a govt / greenie conspiracy to deprive them of their *God given* "rights" to do whatever the heck they like, wherever and whenever the heck they want.
But this position ignores that reality that "rights" are not inherent. They are "provided" by the rest of society. You cannot claim "rights" for yourself that the rest of society is unwilling to allow you to have.
Noe of us has the "right" to take another's life, for example, despite teh fact that there are plenty of people whose lives we'd *like* to take - road ragers, burglars, rapists, Al Gore..... (one of those is a joke).
But, in the same way the gun is not repsonsible for taing a life - that's down to the idiot who pulled the trigger - similarly, it's not the SUV's fault it's polluting the atmosphere - it's the *fault* of the person using it.
It is this *reality* that so many of us do not want to accept.
But using the contrary argument, it's not
our fault that the power we use is generated from coal-fired power stations. *Most* of us simply can't avoid using it - without suffering some serious hardships - and no-one wants that, right?
Not even the fruit-loops on the far Left want to go back to wearing skins, living in teepees, and hunting with bows and arrows. Or at least, most of them don't....
So, we simply *MUST* accept that it is our *lifestyle* - and everything that goes with that - that is causing the carbon pollution problem.
So, never mind the obvious hypocrisy of someone like Dr Paris spending millions on a carbon fibre boat to inflate his own ego, the *rest* of us need to take a long, cold, hard look at what we're doing...and I respectfully suggest....change some of our *attitudes* and begin to accept the reality of the situation.
It's not *just* about what is "most cost effective" - it's about what is "the right thing to do" - for ALL of us. Then
let's look at the most cost effective way of achieving that objective. Objective first, methodology second.
Each of us needs to accept we have an *individual* responsibility to reduce our carbon emissions overall, and accept that this might cost us a bit more than 'business as usual'.
Business as usual is what got us into this mess in the first place, so clearly it will take some additional
actions to get us to a non-usual position where we can - individually AND collectively, begin to have some impact on global carbon emissions.
Personally, I think putting a steep price
on carbon (progressively, not suddenly) would, as someone else suggested earlier, begin to make *economic* sense to find and use alternatives to coal / gas / oil
It's Economics 1001 - use whatever is cheapest in order to maximise profits. In the past, the environment
was an "externality" that was not factored properly into economic or business-case scenarios. Putting a price
on carbon, and a social and environmental responsibility on business, achieves this, and creates a new level for the playing field.
I'm not going to argue statistics with the deniers - you can make stats say whatever you want them to say - but *measurements* are different, and that is what is driving the carbon argument.
We are "measuring" how much carbon is going into the atmosphere. We are *measuring* what effect this is having on sea temperatures and the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets
. We are *measuring* the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are *measuring* record
higher temperatures, with no other credible
source for these effects than our carbon emissions.
Anyone who denies these *measured* inputs will have zero effect, frankly, has their head
in the sand.
We're pi***ng in our own pool and wondering why it's turning yellow.
As someone else pointed out, the EREI of solar
has long ago been proven to be 'positive' in terms of energy inputs and reduced carbon emissions. So lets do more of that, for a start.
The argument that a Prius or similar hybrid - because it costs more in the first place - is therefore not as positive for the environment
as a diesel-powered anything is a crock.
The manufacturers costs per volume are higher on low volume cars, so their up front is higher. Hence *retail* cost is higher. As someone said, Toyota would take a $$whatever hit on each Prius sold? NOT.
Much of this so-called "debate" is about those of us in denial attempting to justify our selfish choices. We just don't want to give up our chosen "lifestyle" (and its accessories) and we especially don't want to be *told* to give it up (by me, or by the govt, or anyone else).
So I'm not gonna do that. Simple human behaviour means we always *resist* doing something we're told
to do that we don't want to do.
But let's at least call it what it is. A lifestyle choice. We don't wanna give up our cushy lifestyle, nor the *toys* that go with it.
So if you wanna own a SUV instead of a Prius. Fine. Just own up that you are behaving irresponsibly and saying to hell with the planet and the rest of us. <<tongue in cheek>>
If, like a previous poster, you have a cuppla V8s, a motorbike or two AND a Prius - for the boring trips - then good on you. Even if you are doing it for 'economic' reasons, rather than "for the environment". Simply by using the Prius *instead* of the SUV or V8 sedan, you are "offsetting" the difference between the consumption
of the two.
If we ALL did that, the overall consumption
and emissions would fall. It's basic math.
Interestingly, in this country (Oz) demand for electricity (and thus consumption and emissions) has been falling - mainly due to large increases in unit cost. Go figure. Who woulda thought we'd react to the hip-pocket nerve *equation*??
The reality we all
have to accept is that we do not "own" this lump of rock - we *share* it.
And the actuality
of that - philosophically - *requires* that we each of us act responsibly. In other words, that we NOT do things that are detrimental to the planet, the ecosystem, and to each other, and never mind the oft stated *future generations*.
Either we accept our *moral* responsibility [never mind taxes
or other govt-implemented requirements], or we don't, and go to hell in a hand-basket. Or at least, our descendents will.....
I think, deep down, we *all* know there's is some truth in the carbon emissions argument - it's just common logic, as I said previously - if you p**s in the bath it turns yellow......
But we need to - openly - accept that our actions are what is having this effect, and begin to modify our behaviours in order to minimise our individual - and thus collective - inputs.
Having worked as an energy efficiency consultant I can vouch personally that changing "habits" is FAR more efficient at reducing emissions than putting up a wind-generator or adding solar panels
to your house.
My households electric
consumption is down to around 4kW per day, and my rooftop solar
generates 10kw. Its been installed two years and is now cashflow positive, and by next year, will be energy positive, producing more than it took to make and install.
OK, admittedly, mine is a somewhat extreme commitment and one most people wouldn't be able to achieve comfortably, and
I live in a mild temperate climate, AND it is a matter of 'walk the talk' for me - hence a work-related *competitive advantage difference* that provides the added incentive to do 'better than average'.
But an average household can reduce emissions by 10-25% simply by changing habits and modifiying behaviours.
And THAT has far more of an impact on global carbon emissions (or would have if we all did it) than any penny-ante argument about whether or not a Prius does more for the environment than a diesel
Oh, and FTR, I don't own a Prius. Can't afford one. But I get 5.9L/100km (40MPG) from my 15-yr old Corolla, using simple high-miler techniques, so based on the "reduce, re-use, recycle" goal for minimising one's impact, I'm way ahead of any Prius owner, financially and environmentally! But YMMV...
Like a64 using his Prius for the 'boring' trips, him NOT having used his SUV or his wifes C300 effectively reduces his carbon footprint. Using the Prius offsets what would otherwise have been used. Sure, it's not much - each trip - but it does add up over time, and if we ALL did the same??? Make a much bigger difference to carbon emissions.
And before I get howled down and the flamethrowers come out in force, I'm NOT suggesting we all stop driving our *fun* cars or bikes, nor am I suggesting we remove the diesel
donk from our sailing boats.....
But we DO need to accept that we *each* have to do SOMETHING, and even if that something is a little
something, the simple doing of it does
And lots of little differences DO add up.
This is why power demand is falling in this country - people have found ways to get by using less. Changing out the old lightglobes for compact fluros saves around 5%, for example. Sure, LEDS are expensive - you won't get your money
back on them any time soon, but remember what I said before about the 'economic' equation. It WILL cost more to use less, in the short term. Longer term, you - and *we* - are in front.
What we MUST accept is that this wonderful, Western, convenience lifestyle NONE of us really want to give up, is what's been causing the problems and is, ultimately, unsustainable.
Eventually, we will run out of minerals. Much sooner we will run out of coal. And some time after next week, we will run out of oil
In the mean time, life goes on, and we all have to get to work, power and heat our homes, obtain food
from somewhere.....and it's *easier* to just not think about the pollution all of that is causing.
And even if we *are* thinking about it, it's still easier to go along with 'business as usual'. And even those advocating change can't avoid *some* of their impact. Even greenies drive cars, and buy food
from the supermarket that a diesel-powered truck delivered, grown by a tractor-owning farmer who used oil-derived fertilisers to grow it......
To be brutally honest, if homes were better insulated, we all used LED lights
(everywhere), and we changed a few other silly habits (like using a fresh towel every time we shower
- don't laugh, people do this) then these simple acts of 'minimisation' would have a quicker and more useful impact on global carbon emissions tha the combined output of all the wind
towers in Europe
. (roughly and broadly speaking.....)
Paris is a dick, but a dick trying to make a point. That he chose a 'dickh***ed' way of going about this is par for the course. Many rich people have a habit of throwing money
at a problem without really thinking it through. It's what they do - because they can.
A wooden boat, rather than carbon-fibre, might have made more sense, and biodiesel can be made from used vegetable cooking
oil, without any modifications (use a small qty of diesel to start the engine
, switch to oil once warmed).
As someone else pointed out, the old Folkboats probably had a lower 'carbon footprint' than any modern plastic boat, with or without an engine
Slocum used wood as well as coal to light his stove, as did most people sailing in the pre-19thC when coal became readily accessible.
are 'sustainable'. Wood is sustainable. Plastic derived from oil is not. QED.
Neither cotton sails
nor wooden hulls are particularly 'efficient' in terms of sailboats *performance*. So maybe we will - eventually - have to accept that - sigh - the days of dacron and mylar are over, and we go back to cotton sails, carvel-planks and annual maintenance
bills, instead of low-maintenance fibreglass. J-boats, anyone?? Plywood
Convenience costs. And it usually costs the environment. Saving a few sheckels off the annual maintenance budget
is simply transferring the *cost* (impact) elsewhere.
Right now wood and cotton are considered esoteric materials, in much the same way fibreglass was in the Fifties....fringe materials. This will, eventually, need to change.....but not till the oil runs out, or until it no longer makes sense *economically* to build from oil-derived resins, or to use synthetic fabrics in anything other than big-budget race
boats, like the America's Cup.
And people, let's face it, all of us on the *SAILING* forum are inherently "greenies" (whether we want to admit it or not) because sailing VS powerboating is inherently better for the planet and produces less carbon emissions per mile.
So please, can we simply accept that - individually and collectively - our actions have an impact on the environment around us, and accept that we need to *modify* some of our behaviours, *limit* some of our previously acceptable actions, but still continue to enjoy our wonderful lifestyle?
I think those of us alive now recognise that the overall impact of the last 200 years of carbon emissions will not be felt in our lifetimes, and may not even be felt fully (but ought to be measurable) within our grandchildren's lifetimes - but does that short-term reality in any way absolve us from the responsibility to "do the right thing" for future generations?
My own personal hope is that, well before the environment collapses in on itself, we will figure out how to get power from nuclear fusion, but even the best estimates on achieving that goal are 50-100 years away, if then.
So, in the mean time, can we all make a little bit of an effort to *tread more lightly* and not get distracted by the minutiae of whether or not a 50MPG car is better for the environment than a 15MPG SUV??
The bottom line is, if we used *either* of them less, we'd be doing the planet - and our descendents - a favour.
Let's be honest with ourselves - a sextant
uses no energy at all to operate - but who'd choose to use a sextant
over a chartplotter
And who wants to drink warm beer
? Not me, that's for sure!
So if we simply accept, and move on, then we can begin to do stuff like *minimising* our impact, reducing
our consumption (while still retaining the lifestyle), and feel good that we are doing something, and can then safely thumb our collective noses at the Al Gores of the world, safe in the knowledge that we are each of us doing what we can
Denial is a river in Egypt
. And I for one would not want to swim in it.
So let's build a bridge, get over it, and begin to discuss constructively what we can do to minimise our impact, accept that this is *necessary* - even if it is irksome - and move on.....
And finally, remember vacuum-flush marine
toilets...??? We all know what happens to water
ways if we use them - now - and storage
toilets are a PITA by comparison, but we *know* we gotta do it, or our bath will, literally, turn yellow around us.
I hope people will read this not as a "lecture" but as a summary of the reality we all face.
How each of us chooses to react is down to YMMV.
Some choose a Prius. Some do not. Some choose a wooden boat with cotton sails. Others - for different reasons - do not.
But even a Hum-vee driver can *choose* to not flex the muscles in the right foot as often as previously.
Like the pressure of the wind on the sails, it has to be about *balance*, and this will differ from one individual to another, from one country to another.....
So let us accept the reality, and seek 'balance' rather than conflict.