Never in the history of human folly has so much been squandered by so many on so little evidence.
One day Churchill’s famous oratory will be thus bowdlerised to describe our obsession with reducing anthropogenic carbon emissions. Meanwhile, this insane ideology is gathering momentum.
That’s what ideologies do: they are like snowballs rolling down a hill slope into an abyss. As they go, they gather speed and bulk – until they hit the bottom and disintegrate. But while still in motion, they could add up to a deadly avalanche.
Like any other ideology, this one is sustained by mendacious propaganda. For example, one of the current Volvo ads pontificates on climate change, claiming that the Earth has been cool until now.
There exists a code of practice that doesn’t let advertisers lie about their products. Evidently, lying about anything else is fine. In this case, the Earth has been warmer than it is now during about 85 per cent of its existence – but never mind the hard facts, it’s the woke feeling that counts.
Car manufacturers are committed to replacing all their IC cars with electric vehicles. The impression conveyed is that, when everyone drives a Go-Kart, mankind will breathe clean air free of carbon dioxide.
Now we can sleep peacefully at night, rather than being pursued by the nightmares of either burning alive or suffocating, whichever comes first. In fact, 42 per cent of Britons list climate change as their main concern. Say what you will about propaganda, but one thing is for sure: it works.
True enough, transportation produces some 28 per cent of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. Aren’t you glad that in a decade or two cars will no longer be spewing out the stuff?
If you are, consider a few more numbers. Carbon dioxide makes up only 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere. Of that minuscule proportion, 95 per cent comes from natural sources that have nothing to do with human activity. Thus anthropogenic CO2 accounts for 0.0016 per cent of the air we breathe. Puts that 28 per cent in perspective, doesn’t it?
But forget the perspective. Let’s agree with the ecofanatics that reducing 0.0016 per cent by a quarter is a worthy goal. However, we won’t reach it even if we drive every IC vehicle off the road.
Electric cars are powered by batteries, and their production requires lithium, cobalt and manganese. Alas, the mining and refining of those metals releases an awful lot of CO2.
How much is an awful lot? According to a new study, producing a single Tesla battery will emit between 23,000 and 32,000 pounds of extra carbon. Multiply that by the total number of cars in Britain, currently standing at 40 million, and… well, I can’t count that high.
An ecofanatic will argue that this will still produce a net reduction compared to IC cars. Perhaps. But when buying a car, are you prepared to pay an extra £10-20 thousand for a possible marginal reduction in the 28 per cent of 0.0016 per cent?
Add to this the cost, both financial and environmental, of producing the extra electricity required to charge tens of millions of batteries, and we are beginning to bite into those tiny percentages even more. But no expense is too high for the fanatics to claim moral ascendancy.
However, on closer examination their moral ground appears quite a bit lower. For, in addition to producing harmless CO2, the mining of battery minerals causes real environmental damage, not to mention the harm to the miners’ health.
When we consider where these metals are produced, the ecofanatics’ smugness begins to look not only factually unfounded, but also morally defunct. Most of the world’s cobalt is produced in the Congo, South America delivers most of the lithium, and between them South Africa and China account for about half of all manganese.
Therefore most miners are… how shall I put it without risking censure?… not exactly white (it’s not South American or South African whites who go down the mines). How does this tally with the woke commitment to pan-planetary racial equality?
I detect a clash of pieties there, which is always nice to observe. The European and North American ecofanatics, who are predominantly left-wing, don’t mind cobalt and lithium miners getting cancers produced by radioactive particles. As long as their own virtue is properly signalled, they feel self-satisfied.
Everyone can see exhausts coming out of tailpipes, but those dying miners are safely tucked away out of sight in faraway lands. This trompe l’oeil creates the illusion of a carbon-free ride, which I for one find repugnant. Don’t you?