21 October 2021

Equity

Billionaire Roman Abramovich's superyacht "Eclipse" has 
an estimated carbon footprint of 25,100 tons of CO2 per year.

Nowadays we are all anxious about climate change. We wonder what can be done to slow it down or even halt it. We wonder about how our own lifestyles have contributed to climate change as we turn off lights, recycle plastics and think about reducing the amount of meat and dairy in our weekly diets. In various ways we are all guilty but some are more guilty than others.

I have had a fantasy about a world in which we all receive environmental tokens to spend on the things we need. Everybody receives exactly the same number of tokens making the spending process equitable. Poor people get the same number of tokens as the wealthy. After all, shouldn't we all be fighting this battle together?

The domestic consequences of this would be numerous. Private jets would no longer be allowed. Nobody would have enough tokens to own more than one motor vehicle. Living in large houses or owning two or three homes would be inadvisable because of the environmental toll. There just wouldn't be enough tokens to cover the expense.

Buying new clothes or having extensive wardrobes would be a no-no as would be the replacement  of electrical items  without proper reason such as breakdown or irreparability. Having a lot of money stashed away should not give you licence  to squander this planet's precious resources just because you can. Some things are more important than your self-gratification including ensuring the longevity of Earth for our children's children's children.

In the western world, it used to be that the majority of people dreamt of an affluent lifestyle like the rich lives we observed on our television sets - fast cars, fine clothes, big houses, posh  restaurants, first class travel etcetera but when you think of it, the rich have always used far more than their fair share of environmental tokens. Arguably the time has come for them to take stock and change in order to reduce their excessive and inequitable carbon footprints.

All this being said, I am well aware that compared with many people in this world  I am also stupendously rich. Generally speaking, African, Asian and South American peasant folk spend very little each year compared with me. Their environmental tokens pile up, virtually unused.

I don't believe that world leaders are truly serious about meaningful action in relation to climate change. They seem to be tinkering around at the edges playing the Green Warriors Game just  because it's the flavour of the day. In the past, our own political "leader" - Johnson was very scathing about environmental campaigners and now ahead of the Glasgow summit, he expects us to believe in his newly discovered  green credentials. Would he or any of his fellow leaders consider for one moment taking on the rich and curtailing their insatiable carbon appetites?  I am afraid that that would only happen when  it was far too late to make a difference.

Boatman in India. What is his boat's carbon footprint per year?

35 comments:

  1. Are the peasants' unused tokens tradable? I could set up an agency to sell their unused tokens to wealthy people. They don't need them.

    The green self conversion by Boris is not especially believable. Most people with environmental concerns have always had them to a greater or lesser degree.

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    1. If you set up such an agency it would be torched in the middle of the night by eco-warriors like me.

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  2. My dad would have said the pubs and clubs should shut at half past ten again, and the electricity and internet and all devices off too. He would agree with President Xi Jingping's restrictions on gaming and celebrity culture. His grandma had one of the first houses in town with electricity. There was a master switch in the little back bedroom which she turned off at 9 o'clock and everyone had to go to sleep.

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    1. So many electrical devices are left on when not in use. In offices thousands of computers hum away through the night. What a waste!

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  3. I love your idea. BUT- what if...the people who absolutely "had" to have private jets, etc., could pay people with very, very small carbon footprints to use some of their tokens? Would this not help equalize income?
    But in reality- who would be in charge of all of this and let's be honest- the incredibly wealthy will never believe that they need to follow the rules. Ever.
    Still, I love the idea.

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    1. It's only a dream but I am glad you have grasped the essence of it.

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  4. London did not want to host the summit, a security nightmare.
    So where did they hold it?

    Why Glasgow, a three-star city with no future, filthy streets, awash in drugs and alcohol, a staggeringly high underclass, corrupt business elite, dwindling economy.
    Wha's like us, damn few, and they're aa deid.

    We could not even keep our most iconic building from burning down, though it had survived Victorian gaslight and two world wars.
    Muriel Gray, chair of the Art School Committee, never thought of Fire Drills.

    Charles Rennie Macintosh's masterpiece was torched by gangsters the SECOND time, because they wanted to build nearby. The polis would have been looking the other way. It's all they are good for.

    As for Climate Change, Boris is about as green as our rotting concrete buildings.
    Half a century ago, they ripped out the heart of the city, ran a motorway through Charing Cross, and Hope Street is now the most polluted street in Europe.

    We got drunks on every corner but.

    Hamel(d) by another name.

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    1. Will ye be donnin yer kilt an daein a highland fling tae greet they esteemed foreign visitors led by "The King of the World". Or maybe ye'll grasp yer microphone tae sing in harmony:-
      I belong to Glasgow
      Dear old Glasgow town
      Well what's the matter with Glasgow
      For it's goin' 'roon and 'roon
      I'm only a common old working chap
      As anyone here can see
      But when I get a couple of drinks on a Saturday
      Glasgow belongs to me

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    2. As my father used to say, Rabbie Burns never wore a kilt in his life.
      Tartan suits the Ladies.

      I Belong To Glasgow is attributed to comedian Will Fyffe (1885-1947) born in Dundee, buried in our Lambhill Cemetery. He appeared in English films.

      Fyffe said he heard the song in a pub and paid the poor unknown composer a couple of bob for it. He never saw the man again.

      The song has been sung by Gracie Fields, Eartha Kitt, Danny Kaye.
      Kirk Douglas sang it in a televised Royal Command Performance.

      Will Fyffe was popular at the (long demolished) Glasgow Empire, the toughest audience in Britain, where my mother as a wee girl saw Fred and Estelle Astaire dance. She was with her father, in the 1920s.

      Glasgow folk would buy rotten fruit, before going into the Empire, and throw it at poor acts. Des O'Connor fainted before going on.
      The Empire stood at the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street.

      Movie star David Niven went to the Empire when he was a young officer, stationed at the Maryhill Barracks (now a run-down housing estate) during WWII.
      Niven fancied Glasgow girls but did not like the way they spoke.

      The summit on climate change will be held at the SEC Armadillo, down by the River Clyde. The auditorium holds 3000 seats for concerts.
      A curious building, it is clad in overlapping aluminium sheeting, floodlit at night, reflective by day.

      I got my two Covid vaccines at the Armadillo, the first time I had ever been inside, and found it terribly oppressive.
      It is as black inside as the devil's nightshirt.

      If I had a free ticket for Joan Chamorro's Sant Andreu Jazz Band (my favourite band) I would not sit inside that building; the seats are way up in the roof.
      Rather terrifying.

      *2014 Moody's Mood Sant Andreu Jazz Band: Magali Datzira, Eva Fernandez, Andrea Motis.* YouTube.

      Joan Chamorro plays double bass and started the Jazz School in Barcelona for children and teenagers.
      He lost his little boy to cancer and has dedicated his life to teaching music to the young.
      He does not charge them a penny. The school is financed on ticket sales.
      Haggerty

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    3. Chucking rotten fruit and vegetables should return as a sport. I would love to hurl a rotten tattie at Johnson's heid. "GET TATTIE DONE!"...SPLAT!

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    4. My father spoke about a fruit and veg shop which sold rotten tomatoes in brown paper bags to patrons of The Glasgow Empire.
      He felt sorry for the artists when they got a pelting and were booed offstage.
      Sometimes the stage was awash with rotten fruit to gales of laughter.
      Boris and his crooked cronies deserve rotten eggs.

      J.B. Priestley wrote a novel *Lost Empires* inspired by The Bradford Empire.
      It was adapted for television with Colin Firth.
      Arnold Bennett corrected proofs in music halls for his Friday page in The Evening Standard; and Ford Madox Ford frequented them too.

      More problematically Walter Sickert painted scenes from the London music halls in the tradition of Degas and Lautrec.
      If I thought Sickert really was Jack the Ripper I could never look at his melancholy paintings again. He did use a dark palette.

      *Mr Nobody or Jack the Ripper: The Infamous Art of Walter Sickert.*
      An online essay by Laura Thipphawong.
      Haggerty

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    5. Well I am glad I stirred some more jewels from the gravel at the bottom of The Haggerty Aquarium.

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  5. It's so hard to know where to draw the line, isn't it? I don't have answers but I am sickened by displays of conspicuous consumption.

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    1. There seems to be no brake. No brake at all. I am reminded of those TV images of containers held up at ports around the world. All bulging with wastefulness.

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  6. LATE is the key word here. We will all dither around until it is far too late for anything. People don't seem to understand that when it's gone, it's gone. They don't make anymore and if they do it takes thousands of years. Good post and good idea to make some changes.

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    1. I am so pleased that you have quickly grasped the essence of this post Red. What can we do? What can we do?

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  7. When BJ was still Mayor of London, he was perceived as a rather green character over here. People loved it that he rode to work by bike, and generally seemed not to care about flash cars and such. How he has changed - and not for the better!

    Something else in this context is irking me at the moment: Christmas presents. The media keep telling us of the difficulties in logistics, with huge amounts of freight containers not being forwarded etc. But instead of going to the roots of the problem, and encouraging people to stop and think about what they really need and what would really make sensible Christmas presents (if any), they advise us to buy early so that we make sure WE get the items we want - sod all the others who decide late on their orders and then will have to go without.

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    1. I am irked by images of containers stacked up at ports or on massive container ships. What do they contain and do we really need that stuff? So much plastic crap that should not be produced any more.

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  8. Well, now I feel like just crawling back to my bed and hiding under the duvet until the world comes crashing down on my head.

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    1. The only thing that will crashing down in your head is Lord Peregrine when he trips over your pink crocs.

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  9. Your tokens idea is great but as Andrew and Mrs Moon have noted, all that would happen is that there would be a thriving market in tokens, the poor selling theirs for money to buy food, to those who have money to spare for extravagances. In some respects this exists in the Kyoto Agreement carbon credits system - F grows forestry in NZ, gets carbon credits, and makes money selling them to other places and industries that create carbon debits.

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    1. There would be photo ID and tokens would be numbered and non-transferable. That matter would be easy to address. Anyway, I know it's just a fantasy.

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  10. With regards to plastic, the manufacturers are to blame not us. Why doesn't the Government force them to change to other packaging, again money I suspect. But at the same time let's blame the little people at the bottom. There was hardly any plastic when I was a child.
    I was listening to and eminent man the other day who claimed that there was hardly any difference in the core temperature now than before. Are we being fed a lot of garbage in order to fit their bill for some other means?
    Briony
    x

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    1. I don't think so. Sounds like that eminent man was some kind of climate change denier like Donald Trump. I agree with you that there's a tendency to vilify the little people at the bottom and not the monsters at the top.

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  11. What struck me is how completely happy the man in his little woven boat looks. Life needs an overhaul. 'Stuff' does not equate with happiness. We do not need the latest, the best, the newest, the popular. Yet, we are raising our children to believe that they do.

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    1. Happier than Roman Abramovich that is for sure and more connected to the world around him.

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  12. You are a socialist through and through. You have drunk the Kool-Aid. You throw around phrsses like "we all" and "the majority of people" casually. You paint a picture of a Utopian world that I pray will never exist. Forced equality is no equality at all. It certainly is not freedom. It is domination by the State or by Whoever Is In Charge.

    A pox on your ill-conceived dreams.

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    1. I was chiefly thinking about the climate crisis and how the wealthy tend to have much bigger carbon footprints. You seem to totally overlook what was the very core of this blogpost and instead picked up on a side issue.

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  13. Communist!

    (I'm joking, but there are people who would say that to your arguments!)

    I agree we ought to have a more equitable way to divide the world's resources and use them skillfully. I think the pols want to make a difference but not enough to make meaningful change -- they want to have their cake (under our current economic system) and eat it too. In fact I believe Boris has been quoted using that very phrase in the past.

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    1. I realise you were only joking Steve but anybody who thinks it is acceptable to allow the rich to just carry on as before is sanctioning ridiculous unfairness as the rest of us strive to address this climate crisis.

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  14. Your idea of tokens seems like it would only grind the economy to a halt as those who need tokens would have no way of obtaining them since trading posts would be torched by eco warriors such as yourself. I think a better way is simply to pay per unit of measurement of consumption, with the cost being equivalent of removing the unit some other way. Those that need to use lots of tokens, say hotels or rental car companies, would still exist but then would be charged a lot to remove the carbon footprint by other means.

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  15. You write such thought-provoking posts! (and you've certainly had me thinking...)

    Meanwhile, I post about things like beer labels.

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    1. Okay you have tempted me to come on over Kelly.

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  16. I tend to the view that such fantasy is pointless and even potentially dangerous when it has no possibility of actually seeing the light of day.

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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