Climate protests in London 2019

It’s really cool how everyone suddenly cares about the environment. What’s not so cool is that many of these people do not care to understand the science of what is required to fix the problem.

The move towards a more environmentally friendly society is inherently a move towards a more efficient and advanced society. So why do so many people think that we have to revert back to cavemen in order to save the environment?

The fact of the matter is that it’s too late for that. We already screwed up the environment with technology, and the only way we can hope to ‘save’ it is with better technology.

“City of the future” Doesn’t look like a cave to me

And that’s where the logic gets twisted and distorted. Take the new phenomena of ‘flight shame‘. The reasoning behind ‘flights shame’ is that airplanes have a heavy environmental impact and so flying is a bad thing and you should be ashamed if you do it. Seems almost logical right?

Our countries pride Greta Thunberg just demonstrated how to avoid transatlantic flights. Rent a luxury yacht with an accompanied professional sailor crew. And if you’re poor, just stay at home and be ashamed..

However this kind of thinking isn’t going to encourage technological developments that fix the issue. SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) is planning to go completely emissions free by 2030. They plan to do that by developing electrical airplanes fit for commercial flights together with Airbus.

Airbus wouldn’t have a strong enough incentive to develop this new technology so fast if they didn’t have a direct relationship with a customer. SAS wouldn’t be able to fund this if people stopped flying.

The unintended consequence of reduced air-travel in environmentally conscious parts of the world is that airlines will target markets that care less.

Clearly SAS already has enough incentive from customers to go greener. SAS has been running experiments with bio fuel and various green alternatives for years. They obviously have a system to measure how these experiments impact revenue. Higher revenue being the result of green investments other airlines will undoubtedly soon follow suit.

Electric commercial airplanes would benefit everyone. Airlines get more customers, the flights are cheaper to maintain and use. Passengers get quieter flights, a green alternative, and guess what, cheaper flights.

Eviation’s nine-seater electric aircraft with a 600 miles range, Alice, was a hit at the Paris Airshow

The twisted logic of favoring quick solutions over proper ones is becoming more and more commonplace. Flying is bad so stop flying, or actually encourage fixing the problem?

Europe is in the progress of a witch-hunt on diesel cars which also illustrates this problem. Diesel emissions are dirtier than other fuels so they make diesels ridiculously expensive or even outright ban them.

I’ve written a post that discusses the technical specifics of diesel emissions if you’re interested. It also mentions a similar issue as this article when it comes to organic produce.

Good Intentions Coupled With Ignorance Is Harming The Environment

What this has resulted in among other things is diesel fuel being more expensive than gasoline. A phenomena that only taxes can create. But furthermore my 2009 Volvo XC70 Euro5+ (second highest environmental rating) cost 10 times the yearly tax that my fathers 2007 Volvo XC90 (Euro 4) 4l V8. My car uses 6L/100km, the latter uses 12+L/100km. Diesel or not the big car with a big engine clearly puts out more pollutants, especially CO2.

Now this might make sense if the drastically increased taxes were used to further the cause in some calculated plan. But that is not the case, the tax revenue is not marked for use in any specific purpose.

The money could be used to upgrade existing cars. Euro 5 diesels are generally speaking only one component away from a Euro6 diesel, the adblue system. Too complicated to implement? How about a tax break for people switching to electrical cars? Nope.

So the result is that I can either change to an older cheaper car that puts out more pollutants. Or I will be faced with a real financial roadblock in my path to an electrical car. Doesn’t sound like this is a great way to help the environment.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who [Greta Thunberg] recently met with, announced a plan to use money from oil pipelines to plant trees. This does not seem like much of a solution, as many of the native tribes in Canada, who are not very fond of Trudeau’s government, will still be forced off of their land, which they are taking good care of, to make room for dangerous pipelines that are prone to spilling.

This type of solution is not much different than the carbon tax idea, it is a small, and likely counterproductive measure that won’t actually address the problems with how humans generate and consume energy, but instead, will just shift around more money through the hands of the ruling class.

David Cohen, Journalist, Anonews

The carbon tax concept isn’t entirely flawed, it’s just often poorly executed. Firstly who needs to get taxed? Not consumers, but large industries that have a heavy effect on the environment. Once again we can encourage progress, if less environmental strain means lower taxes, that’s a major incentive to invest in better technologies.

Targeting consumers might reduce sales lightly, but the major issue is the targeting of small businesses. Small businesses could be a powerful ally in out-competing conglomerates that rely on old and harmful practices.

Also it wouldn’t hurt if that increased tax revenue is actually used for something sensible.

Many people are actually rising up to this issue. But they are easily dismissed as being ‘anti the environment’ or just lumped in with climate change deniers. Which is not always the case. People are recognizing that solving this issue means we need to stop accepting half measures.

Sweden is currently in the process of getting away with switching from nuclear to coal and calling it ‘a move for the environment’. They do this not so cleverly by burning garbage and calling it a renewable energy source. Which is technically true, but you’d be really stupid to fall for the dupe that it’s great for the environment.

Most science minded people would be agree that nuclear energy is or can be developed into a technology with minimal issues and unparalleled advantages. But even if you consider nuclear as too high a risk, clearly burning garbage and importing coal power is not an acceptable alternative.

This is part of a larger issue. Sweden’s ‘Environment party’ is the one pushing for these types of half-baked solutions that end up causing unnecessary inconvenience and often ends up hurting the cause rather than helping it. I suspect and fear that this is going on in many other countries.

That’s why every voter has to be aware of the science surrounding the problems we face, so we won’t be duped into voting for the wrong side.

What Greta Thunberg and her movement has done very well is to instill people with a sense of urgency. And really we can’t expect anything more, she has done very well for a child that’s been put in her situation.

But now it’s time for those people to stop and think. Perhaps advocating for or even investing in effective solutions rather than simply boycotting plastic straws and be satisfied.

I have to end this article with a somber reminder. The reason i wrote ‘save’ the environment. We are in fact delaying the inevitable. Even if we can do so indefinitely the earth is going when the sun does. Thus we need to leave the planet one day to survive as a species. Which makes developing efficient technologies even the more important. It may seem like we have a lot of time before that happens, but considering the challenges we face in finding a new home, we really do not.