Monday, 12 March 2007

Green Skies or True Blue Lies?

So the Tories are pulling out all the stops to convince us that they want to save the planet. Like many politicians attempting to portray themselves as environmentalists, they have picked on the most obvious target - air travel.

Now, of course increased air travel is contributing to our growing carbon emissions - but it's only part of the problem. Yet taxing air travel is presented as some kind of panacea to our environmental problems. Politicians like David Cameron need to stop misleading people and inject a bit of honesty and imagination.

Realistically, in order for society to function we will have to engage in some activity that is bad for the environment. For example, doctors have to travel from their homes to actually perform operations in hospitals, we need to use power to heat our homes, and we need some packaging in order to transfer goods from shops to our homes.

So, if we accept that we have to allow for a certain level (as low as possible of course) of carbon emissions, then the questions are what level is acceptable and how do we use this self-imposed allowance?

My friend Mhairi and I call this the 'Weightwatchers' approach to carbon emissions.

We can use our carbon 'points' for a certain level of air travel, road travel, construction, and so on. And because we have allocated all our points, we must ensure that we are otherwise squeaky 'green'.

If we take this approach, then we become much more focused on reducing the carbon emissions (and other environmental damage) that results from our EVERYDAY LIVES. We broaden our focus to waste minimisation, recycling, renewable energy, green fuels, energy efficiency, public transport. The list goes on. It's all about making our everyday lives more environmentally friendly - not just our holiday or business air travel.

Only with a more honest and realistic approach to our shared environmental challenge will we have any chance of meeting it.

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