1) CO2 emissions by rich and poor:
Richest 10% cause half the emissions.
Poorest 10% cause 1% of the emissions.
2) Carbon budget for 1.5°C
The estimates below suggest the total planning gain is
equal to 30 years of the council tax that York collects.
It’s not paid to York citizens, it goes to lucky landowners.
The £2.5 billion is enough to build 10 new large hospitals
or 150 secondary schools, with 1,000 pupils each
— or even 10,000 new Bentley’s for the Lord Mayor
As Former Environmental Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Ball is well positioned to understand the thinking of the richest 1% of the world’s population. However, he doesn’t seem to blame them for their pollution which is destroying our climate. The Oxfam infographic above shows that the rich are the worst polluters by some distance.
Speaking on the Climate Change and Big Money for New Technology podcast, Ball said:
”Solving environmental problems is about money and solving the mother of all environmental problems, climate change, is about a lot of money …no matter how much money any state or country spends on actions around climate change is gonna pale in comparison to what the private markets can spend and if the world is going to muster action to deal meaningfully with climate change (which by the way it is not now doing) that’s going to depend mostly on on the flow of private money”.
He says that governments can’t solve the problem because they haven’t nearly enough money they can spend. Instead, they must set policies that unleash private money: massive trillions of dollars in investment.
The result: Don’t make wealthy polluters pay, governments must simulate the market to give them good investment opportunities. To paraphrase that old song:
Finding ways of living, that do not challenge life on Earth, is urgent and difficult.
It must be atop priority for planners of villages, towns and cities.
Here I compare the well established idea of Garden Cities with a different, ‘Green Settlement’, approach.
Climate change: It’s still worse than you think
“Everybody knows that but …” says Jonathan
I’m in the middle of writing a piece on Green Settlements and just realised that some of the argument is driven by the urgency of climate change but the mainstream media and many scientists – who tend to be media favorites – won’t tell us the awful truth. Politicians speak to issues that they hear on the doorstep or get from focus groups – focus groups that will be unaware of the urgency.
Under the headline Land and house prices push UK’s total worth up to £10 trillion, of the Telegraph writes:
Land is now worth £5.4 trillion, which amounts to 53pc of all wealth in the country. This is up from one-third of net assets in 1995, and means land is close to its record high share of 53.3pc of total worth, which it hit in the boom years of 2006 and 2007.
Most of us struggle to find ways of making climate policy understandable. Recently I’ve looked at UN Resolution 42/187 now written into UK planning law. Paragraph 4 of Resolution 42/187 says
Agrees further that an equitable sharing of the environmental costs and benefits of economic development between and within countries and between present and future generations is a key to achieving sustainable development;
It’s hard to see that the lifestyles of motorists are compatible with continued life on Earth.
Let me give an example: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation got researchers at the University of York to look at the new development at Derwenthorpe, York, using their REAP Petite software. Derwenthorpe was meant to be sustainable and have a low carbon footprint but it achieved a planet-destroying footprint of 14.52 tonnes CO2e per resident per year. This was worse than the average for York as a whole, which was still planet-destroying at 14.30 tonnes CO2e.
I do not sneer at ‘whataboutery’, the practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation. An example:
Diesel cars kill tens of thousands due to pollution – but what about driving petrol cars. That is worse because they cause greater CO2 emissions, which will kill many more through climate change.
There is an excellent piece by Peter Hitchens defending whataboutery. He quotes The Gospel according to St Matthew Chapter 7, vv 3-5, where:
Our Lord says : ‘And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
However, grossly exaggerated claims about the carbon cost of having children can cause a dangerous form of whataboutery:
I’m OK trashing the climate but you have children and that’s much worse.
Here is the example that I came across recently:
… and the greenbelt
A common argument in favour of greenbelt policy is that land is required for food production with a rising world population. However, Professor Cheshire points out horsey culture and golf courses on greenbelt land do not produce food. There is also the issue of food wastage and the destruction of food-value with the conversion of economically ‘inferior’ foods to ‘superior’ foods as discussed in It’s the poor that starve. Another post Pollution in the countryside discussed the destructive effects of modern farming methods on medium term soil fertility.