John Sauven: Cretin

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.

You fool.

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.

10 comments on “John Sauven: Cretin

  1. “For, you see, to think that we can have it all is to mark you out as a cretin.”

    Ah, but ‘having it all’ is what these watermelons are all about. But the ‘all’ is expected to fall to them, not to us.

    Bigger cretins are the ones that believe the likes of John Sauven are in it for anything other than a quick buck for themselves.

  2. In my lifetime I have observed huge improvements in clean air (the Clean Air Act of the early Fifties to begin with) and control of industrial pollution – all done by ad hoc, proven science applied as it became possible and affordable. Western Europe has not been cleaner or greener (in the real sense) since the industrial revolution. Water courses are much cleaner too.

    “Green jobs” of course rely entirely on legislative compulsion – to use overpriced electricity from wind farms, solar panels etc. They are also a potent means of enriching the few at the expense of the many. Politicians investing in “green” companies can vote themselves rich and the expense of the monstrous system of “carbon trading” will all be borne by the consumers with the profit going to the Goldman Sachs’s of the world.

    Carbon dioxide, a gas vital for life, is not a pollutant in any measurable way. Its present level in the atmosphere is low by the levels of the last few million years which bore little relationship to temperature – except after the event. CO2 levels increased after temperature went up.

    It’s a marvellous non-polluting plant food. Yet by calling it “carbon” the Greenies make people associate it with soot and other pollution. It’s as clever a piece of semantic footwork as changing “global warming” to “climate change” but keeping its meaning the same in the public mind.

  3. Firstly there has to be wide spread agreement that there really is a problem. Those living in large cities in the 50s didn’t need any convincing. Many are still not convinced of the global warming problem, indeed polls seem to show that the numbers who are convinced is declining.

    Then there is the timing of the change. IIRC we were given time to make changes under the Clean Air Act. This allowed people to get used to the idea and to clear out inventory before having to purchase more expensive, but cleaner, fuel.

    Greenies always seem to be advocating some step change that will be costly both in implementation and through destruction of existing resources. As you keep arguing here, we need time to turn over the capital base, even if we accept there is a problem.

  4. “the worst excesses of the Bush/Cheney white house”. My recollection is a bit hazy, but didn’t the USA do more on emissions than the officially non-evil EU?

  5. Green hobs are unquestionably a burfen. A recent Scottish examination showedthey destroy 3.7 jobs for every subsidy dependent job they create. So a net loss of 2.7 hobs for each of these alleged 100s of thousands of useless “green” hobs is a burden.

    Note the redefinition of atmosphere with more than 2 parts in every 10,000 being crop fertilising CO2 as not “clean air”. This is, to put it politely, an untruth.

  6. Julia:

    You’re (understandably) overreacting. They’re no more ALL crooks only in it for what they can get out of it than are the great many believing all sorts of erroneous (especially leftist) ideas.

    The mistake is everywhere common–attributing to malice or cupidity what can be explained by simple ignorance (and stupidity); if “the other side” is fueled by none other than (essentially) criminal intent, there’d be no point
    whatever in wielding pens against swords.

    I know you know this–I’m just slipping in a reminder. It’s a “long haul” sort of thing and there’s never lasting victory for the cause of the righteous. And that’s simply because “bad” ideas are never really “killed” as long as their espousal can drum up the wherewithal (from the easily-led) for the maintenance of “leaders” (the actual crooks and crazies).

    That “victory” in the arena of human affairs is always somewhat tenuous is an ineradicable condition whose source is simply the difference between the material sphere, where the superiority of one idea over another manifests in direct and mensurable benefits to those resorting to them: more fish, faster transport, greater convenience, etc.–ad infinitum (all easily observable to the doubters who are “left behind”). In the sphere of ideas, of thought, however, where no benefits are so easily connected with their ideological “causes” (and certainly not in any meaasurable way), there can be no possible permanent victory (for the simple reason in the preceding paragraph).

    It’s often frustrating and potentially infuriating.
    But that just goes with the territory.

  7. The Clean Air Act was a classic example of legislation being enacted to fix a problem that was already fixing itself. Look at a graph of airborne particulates in London and note that the Clean Air Act was passed when the levels were already declining precipitously. It shares this feature with a number of other pieces of environmental legislation.

  8. “They’re no more ALL crooks only in it for what they can get out of it…”

    Oh, by ‘all’ I don’t mean the followers.

    But the ones driving it, and thereby profiting from it? Yes, they mostly are.

    You only need to look at the way they live their own lives. Are they ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’? Mostly not.

  9. At this point a Green can say you CAN have it all.

    You just have to say the magic words:

    “Tax Bankers. Cancel Trident.”

    Simples!

  10. CJ Nerd – but they’d be wrong.

    UK PBR for 2010/11 is £149bn.

    Total of the group profits before tax of the big four UK banks last year (and I’m ignoring any issues of non-UK taxes) was about £22bn.

    The Greenpeace estimate of the total cost of the Trident replacement is £34bn (Govt is about £20bn)

    So, if we tax the banks at 100% and count all of the cost-to-taxpayer benefit from cancelling r-Trident in a single year, we have failed to HALVE the PBR.

    Not so simple after all, is it? Unless you are an fiscal idiot, or a Green. But, to steal the words of the sage, I repeat myself.

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