Monday, September 03, 2007

UK peat bogs under threat

It's hopefully widely known that the hotter the climate gets, the closer we get to triggering runaway climate change, at which point no amount of money, economic think tanks or CBI spin will paper over the cracks of capitalism.

There's a report published by the Royal Geographical Society about the UK's peat bogs are in danger of becoming seriously eroded, which will speed up the moment at which all the carbon held in them is released in the atmosphere (see here). The irony is, the report points out that if we were to take steps to properly manage these bogs, they'd actually help take out 1.5m tonnes (as a bare minimum) of carbon from the atmosphere each year.

Now, if I was Prime Minister and I heard that report then I'd pull out all the stops to make sure it happens. But then if I was PM, I'd already no doubt be unpopular with the people of this country because I would have severely scaled back housing development, forced an independent body of housing inspectors on the industry to ensure that the large scale numbers of houses that don't meet the pitiful government standards aren't ignored, and looked at ways of reducing the amount of concrete we apply to our landscape. Then again, I'd be forcing the decentralisation of the energy grid, so that householders would have renewable sources of energy in their neighbourhoods (and damn you if you object to the single wind turbine put up to help meet your energy needs). I'd be radically revamping the transport system to scale back on air and car travel, and improving public transport on roads and rail with affordable, government-subsidised solutions (paid for in part by closing all the tax loopholes that see tens of billions of pounds going into shareholders' pockets).

Then again, I'd be raising income tax, reducing VAT and other stealth taxes and allowing local councils to levy their own tax based on the ability to pay. Society's primary goal would be to instil a sense of community into people's lives and to stop the rise of negative liberty by encouraging - and threatening - people to become better citizens.

I'd be getting people to rein in their debt levels, and no doubt the country would plunge into recession overnight, helped by those bods at the CBI and other right-wing think tanks who can't see beyond the unsustainable and selfish needs of big business. But then instead of importing just about everything we can from China, maybe we could start up economic growth again by bringing more industries back to our shores so the carbon we produce is a more accurate reflection of our overall consumption levels. What's wrong with drinking beer produced locally, or eating what food we can from sources that aren't hundreds - even thousands - of miles away via air?

I would constantly be barraged by those pointing out we're becoming uncompetitive on the world stage, but when you stop and think about it, why should we put the needs of big business with our long hours, lack of health, safety and proper training, plus increasing levels of debt above the need to have a quality and meaningful life that doesn't infringe on the rights of others?

That's what I'd be doing, but you won't find Gordon Brown rushing to the rescue of the peat bogs, especially if he's suddenly desperate to meet his ridiculous housing targets...

No comments: