I REFER to the Herald’s feature article ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ (July 25), which is concerned with how humanity is consuming more than can be renewed – a concern that ought to worry all who care for our children’s future.
The feature concentrates on investment in wind, thus perpetuating a public perception that this is our route to salvation. In doing so it diverts attention from much more serious contributors to the earth’s problems.
The generation of electricity contributes approximately 20 per cent to the UK’s total carbon emissions, the same amount as private cars, almost the same amount from domestic heating and cooking, about 10 per cent from commercial transport and five per cent from public transport. The remainder comes from manufacturing and commercial activities.
The true situation is much worse when account is taken of imports (raw materials, white and brown goods, food, etc). This proxy contribution exceeds the UK’s total domestic contribution (376 million tonnes in 2017) by some margin (420 million tonnes for imports in 2017).
Therefore, if we consider the full impact of our current lifestyle, we can see that, at best, generating electricity solely from green energy will reduce our carbon emissions by less than 10 per cent. For politicians to suggest that we can be a net zero carbon economy
by 2045 is naïve, or for the cynically inclined disingenuous.
Encouraging windfarm investment is an easy policy for our political leaders. It is much more challenging to legislate to restrict our consumption and deal effectively with the economic and employment consequences. Regrettably, this is the only way to save our planet.