I like to think of myself as a supporter of environmental change, i.e. greener solutions.
I think climate change, and the general reduction of supply of fossil fuels means energy costs are only going to go one way, and there is an ever improving financial reason therefore to utilise produce our own electric, so I’m honestly looking at solar and wind power for home energy, and have considered an electric car (though it doesn’t suit my current needs, and I’m keen to see which technology becomes the future standard before making such an investment).
This weeks Global Climate Talks have been something I was really looking forward to, as it takes real global effort to move us all towards a greener way of living. I have however been shocked by the complete waste of money of sending a load of highly paid people to a conference where all they seemed to agree to, was to come to an agreement in the future!
Am I missing something here, or did we just miss an opportunity to actually MAKE that agreement?
If I’m brutally honest, I think countries will never all agree. The easiest way forward is for a country to set the example, and place trade barriers (a thing of the past these days) on imports from countries deemed less green than a set figure. Tough as this may seem, so long as it was backed up using formal stats on the output of countries, it would quickly apply pressure to those “on the fence”, and give financial benefit to nations moving towards a more environmental position.
Of course Trade Barriers have been long fought against because they discrimate, and remove the benefits of free trade. I’m not silly enough to realise that such a move would be strongly opposed by many, and with good reason. I just struggle to see how the world can really all agree on a matter like environment change, when the costs of imposing changes are so high on governments. Democracy is a great thing, but it does bring a short term perspective from governments, keen to look good and stay in power for another term. This flies in the face of environment change which is all about thinking 50-100 years in the future if the maths is to add up in any way.
I’d certainly like to see a country try with some basic low trade barriers to the most polluting nations, to see the impact this might have on viewpoints, and the motivation this might give to other nations, and particularly to those with high polluting habits.
What do I really want to see?
It’s not too unreasonable a question to ask what I really expected from the global climate talks then. The answer is pretty simple really, investment in technologies that will bring about change. It isn’t about banning petrol cars etc… it’s about supporting the industry that makes these technologies, to make them a real potential option for people.
When it comes to cars, I fell for The Lightening Car from the moment I first saw it. Styled like an Aston Martin, and with the speed of a super car (0-60mph in 4 seconds), this isn’t the milkfloat that people think of when they think of electric powered vehicles.
The trouble with green technologies is that they are still relatively expensive given low volume of sales, and therefore no mass manufacturing. They are also early products, and won’t all survive. In fact, my personal view is that hydrogen is far more likely to succeed as a fuel of the future, as you can “fill up” your vehicle quickly rather than charging heavy batteries all the time. These industries need global investment and effort to find the best options for the future, enable mass manufacturing of them, and then people will naturally head in a greener direction. It does however require investment, something this weeks Global Climate talk sadly missed.