The inclusion of environmental legislation has alarmed green groups. John Sauven, director of Greenpeace, said: \”We don\’t yet know if this is cock-up or conspiracy. If it\’s a cock-up, David Cameron needs to come out and say the Climate Change Act, central to the push for a clean technology revolution, is safe from the axe. But if ministers are serious about scrapping it and other vital environmental regulations then we\’ll be looking at something akin to the worst excesses of the Bush-Cheney White House. When did clean air and green jobs become a burden?\”
Just like everything else, clean air and green jobs became a burden when they started to cost money to provide.
Clean air is certainly desirable, no getting away from that. So\’s clean water, lots of lovely food, and baskets of dozing puppies.
Yet, when we look upon that basket of miniature canine loveliness, we all know that those few months of cute come with costs attached. Years of vets bills, of poop scooping. With yet more delights as well, of long walks across the fields, of the friend that you\’ll never get in politics.
You see, there are costs as well as benefits attached to most things and this is as true of clean air as it is of puppies. In order to get clean air we have to, say, fit electrostatic precipitators to coal fired power plants. In cities we have to ban people from burning low grade coal: often wood too. These are costs, burdens, associated with our desired clean air.
And, and here\’s the real stupidity in your statement, \”green jobs\” are one of those burdens. Jobs are a cost, not a benefit. We have to pay those people to do those green things. More, if we\’re paying them to do those green things then they cannot be off doing something else: poop scooping after puppies for example. So a possible cost of green schemes is dog shit in the park.
This might be something we\’re willing to pay to get the clean air. It might not be. But only by admitting, by analysing, what is a burden and what is a benefit can we even begin to work out whether the burdens are worth bearing for the benefits.
For, you see, to think that we can have it all is to mark you out as a cretin. We really are, as someone with your green credentials should know, living in a world of scarce resources. Which means that we cannot have everything, we must decide what selection we wish to make from those available. And whatever selection we make means that we cannot have those we have not selected.
So yes, clean air, while it is a benefit, is also a burden. For we cannot have what we\’ve given up in order to have the clean air.