Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Zero emissions? Only of good sense.

Al Gore III won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize for a film in which he claims "You can even reduce your carbon emissions to zero."  Good luck doing that.  Below the telling observation that "It is the nature of civilization to use energy and it’s the nature of liberalism to feel bad about it," Robert Bryce notes his amazement that

none of the dozens of smart people involved in the production of the movie – including, particularly, Gore himself – paused to wonder aloud something to the effect of, “Hey, what about breathing? Don’t we produce carbon dioxide through respiration?”

The answer, is yes, we do. Thus, by including the claim that you can “reduce your carbon emissions to zero” the film’s producers might as well have hung a sign around Gore’s neck that says “I’m an idiot.”

Frankly, that's how I feel every time I read, see or hear yet another of the Goracle's weighty pronouncements.  But let's just say you chose to keep breathing and go right on living (that's right, you can stop holding you breath now, Darlene). You'd find out pretty soon that the goal of "zero emission" is not intended to be real  -- this, after all, is politics not science -- it is intended only as an "aspirational" goal.  That's the way Helen Clark and David Parker mean it when they recite the same braindead incantation, calling for us all to follow Gore's triad of virtue and get on our bikes, change our light bulbs and start planting things.

But even that's a nonsense.  As a recent Australian report showed, "if every Australian household switched to renewable energy and stopped driving their cars tomorrow, total household emissions would decline by only about 18%."  The triad of virtue is just another triumph of hot air.  The fact is, as page five of the Australian report points out (and this is a report by the Australian Conservation Foundation, hardly the skeptic's friend), the carbon dioxide embedded in the food we eat and the goods we purchase are "more than four times the emissions from our personal use of electricity." 

How about we stop the nonsense, and start recognising that the only emissions that are ever likely to be near zero are those coming from politicians when measured for the sense they contain.


  1. Ah, so it's CO2 coming out of Al Gore's mouth!

    I figured he was talking so much bullshit, he meant he'd get his methane down by shutting up.

  2. I agree with all of this post, but I took Gore to be referring to purchasing carbon offsets, something he himself does. Assuming carbon offsets do what they say they do, there is then no contradiction.

  3. Something he himself does from his own Carbon Offset company...

  4. So tell me PC, do you think the human body magically spawns carbon when you exhale? Of course not, it comes from the food we eat, which ordinarily gets it from the air. Normal human activity, IE breathing, is carbon neutral. Burning fossil fuel takes carbon out of the ground - where it would have stayed - and dumps it into the air. Big difference.

  5. Extract from Jeremy Clarkson's latest column in the Sunday Times:

    You’d imagine then that last week, when Gordon Brown announced plans for a herd of new nuclear power stations, they’d have been delighted. Quiet power made by witchcraft, and no emissions at all...

    But no. It turns out the eco-mentalists don’t like nuclear power either for lots of reasons, all of them stupid. They worry about what would happen if a reactor blew up. Which is a bit like worrying about living in a house in case a giant meteorite lands on it.

    You'll enjoy the rest of it, too.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.