We’re disappointed in Frankie Boyle. He used to be edgy and hilarious – watch out if you got picked out in the audience at one of his shows – but now he fronts a TV panel format where he pontificates on leftist concerns. He’s still worth hearing, but not as much. Recently we saw an extract of the programme, featuring a lecture by the leading prophet of Eco-Doom, George Monbiot (pictured). George said we were all kidding ourselves with the various responses to dangerous anthropomorphic climate change, and that only radical steps would work. He posited three acts that would contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions: (1) stop flying, (2) stop eating meat, and (3) abandon capitalism, with its relentless quest for growth.
You don’t need to be a Malthusian to appreciate the issues posed by our spectacular increases in population and hence consumption. Like Jerry Grogan in Edge of Darkness it seems plausible to look to a new frontier, away from our exhausted and ravaged planet. After you.
Now, you might think that George Monbiot is a swivel-eyed loon – we couldn’t possibly comment – but, assuming you believe in man-made, apocalyptic global warming (and let us say, we have doubts), then clearly George is right. Only radical steps are going to reduce emissions on a meaningful global level. Certainly, stopping air travel* and spurning carnivores would assist, and we might add that coal-firing, whether for the production of power or steel, and the use of automobiles would have to cease. Moreover, we’d have to stop the commercial use of timber.
This scenario occurred to us on Democracy Day here in Australia. There’s a Federal Election on, and looking at the literature handed out at the booths today, it seems to us that no party or candidate is proposing ‘Real Action on Climate Change’ although they are saying it a lot.
Of course, if you banned air travel in, from and to Australia, you’d have to shut down Qantas, and under section 52 of the Constitution – the power of the Federal Government to compulsorily acquire property on just terms – compensate shareholders. And if you closed power stations and steel mills, you’d have to do likewise. And for the car industry (although, conveniently, we’ve pretty much done that already). And compensate the meat industry from farm to butcher. But if you simply added the destruction of capitalism, you could avoid all that – by referendum or revolution, you could tear-up the Constitution and there’d be no need for compensation.
Without a meat-based diet to rile us all up, without the need or ability to hurry anywhere, without the need to build things and do things, life would be so much more simple. And nasty. And brutish. And short.[*Update, Sept. 2019: By the way, how sweet that little Swedish meatball Greta Thunberg sailed to America for her recent Emissions-Festschrift, rather than flew. Unfortunately, the Monte Carlo sybarite who provided the yacht had to fly 4 chaps in to crew, so Greta unwittingly multiplied her trip’s carbon footprint by 4. We need serious people to solve serious problems, and Greta’s 15 minutes are almost up.]