Lauri Tõnspoeg: The carbon sword as a political weapon
The European Union plans to spend €1.8 trillion on saving the natural environment and climate that in reality seems to be little more than a fresh coat of green paint for recent slogans, with greenwashing becoming the latest political tool for geopolitics, Lauri Tõnspoeg writes.
The main narrative revolves around CO2 emissions that should be brought to zero by a certain time after which we should be saved, the climate fixed and all problems solved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Man ruins nature in many different ways, with bodies of water filling up with garbage and toxins, the earth turned upside down for resources and chimneys spewing other gases many of which are far more toxic and dangerous than CO2.
The list goes on, but you already know the many ways in which humans are destroying the natural environment. Hiding all of these activities under the aegis of CO2 will allow us to stay the course, minus having to pay CO2 tax and buy quotas.
Transport far from being the main source of pollution
The European Green Deal details the following plan: to reduce emissions by 55 percent compared to the 1990 level by the year 2050, create jobs and economic growth, reduce energy poverty, reduce dependence on energy from outside the EU and improve people's health and well-being.
I would not recommend this controversial nonsense even to my enemies, as while it would be nice if we could cut emissions almost in half by 2050, this will not be achieved through job creation, economic growth and cheaper energy. On the contrary, all are things that boost consumption, which translates into even more intensive use of resources that in turn means more natural devastation, pollution and destruction.
One cannot protect the environment by printing money as the money will make its way into consumption when it comes around. The more money in circulation, the more of everything we consume. The Covid pandemic has added 30 percent to the amount of money out there. The economy keeps growing and the environment keeps perishing.
This is where we need to dust off the old realization that the economy cannot keep growing indefinitely in the conditions of limited resources. We only have a single planet and limited resources that are running out fast now, especially considering population growth. The number of people on this planet has more than doubled in my lifetime.
It is said that floods have put green topics on the agenda in Germany. Politico analyzed the four leading parties' relevant election promises. They are all quite similar. The four top players seemingly sport a green mindset, while their rhetoric still concentrates mainly on CO2, with the emphasis on transport that is not the biggest source of CO2 emissions.
There are debates over whether we should ban airplanes, build railroads everywhere, ban cars or limit highway speeds to 130 kilometers per hour. Then you stumble upon a green party's slogan for a packaging deposit system and think to yourself: God, you do not even have a packaging reuse system and you're talking about highway speed limits that would admittedly lower CO2 emissions, while the effect would be a fraction of a fraction.
Germany is the leading force in the EU and what is happening in German politics is happening in the EU, meaning that the trend is to hide all other problems and activities behind carbon and talk mainly about cars as the root of all evil as that is something the voter can understand.
CO2 has become a political weapon
Looking at CO2 content in the atmosphere over a very long period of time, the only time it was as low as it is now was some 300 million years ago, which is also when the climate was as cool as it is now.
The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor or clouds that affect temperature the most. I have seen no political slogans to ban vaporization or for a machine that could clear the sky of clouds. I have seen a project for ships that could produce new clouds. Every person knows that if a cloud blocks the sun, the weather becomes cooler and that it is warmer when the sky is overcast at night.
The coronavirus put the whole world on lockdown last spring. This kind of transport stasis cannot be brought about with regulations. The world's planes were grounded, people stayed home, cars remained parked and several factories were shut down. The total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was not reduced but kept growing.
Looking at the graphs from the Mauna Loa Observatory, we can see CO2 falling every year when our boreal forests turn green, while transport and the economy coming to a halt failed to produce this effect.
However, the effect was colossal for the oil industry. All barrels and tanks were full of oil and the price dropped into the red for the first time in history, with people paid to come and take some of it away. Human activity is tied to oil in every aspect, it is our main source of energy and there is no product that is free from it as transport if only from the factory to the store cannot be overlooked. Only wild mushrooms or homegrown potatoes are oil-free.
Capturing CO2 does not require the invention of a machine. All green plants are happy to do it for us. We should let forests grow instead of burning them for energy.
We can keep driving our gas-powered cars for a while longer, while a clean energy switch is necessary in any case as oil reserves will eventually run out, which is why continued development of various clean energy sources is sensible.
Unfortunately, biomass is seen as a source of renewable energy in the EU's vision right now, meaning that using it to generate power or heat is subsidized. The approach is just as misguided as destroying rain forests to make room for oil palms used to manufacture biofuel additives.
Its effect on the environment is many times worse than using pure fossil fuel, with entire ecosystems destroyed so that Europeans could feel greener by filling up with bioadditive fuel. Luckily, some of our fuel retailers have found a way around the practice, while this foolishness still does not have a solution on the political level and should be stopped immediately.
CO2 has become a political weapon, just as democracy, human rights, minority rights, conservatism, liberalism, capitalism, communist etc. have before. CO2 customs are used to force one's conditions upon hostile states, while it does nothing to reduce total pollution.
Clinker used to make cement is no longer manufactured in Kunda. It is produced somewhere else that does not have CO2 quotas. But the chimney is spewing out fumes somewhere. Air knows no borders, and if we can be reached by dust from the Sahara, we can be reached by those fumes.
While the Danes can feel greener burning our forests in their furnaces because they don't have any forests of their own, we should take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we absolutely have to cut down our forests or perhaps we should slow down.
Annually selling ten cubic meters of timber from a hectare of forest that produces three cubic meters a year is not sensible. Every child understands that the forest will run out eventually this way, while we are distorting and attempting to classify statistics to keep people from realizing we have been doing this for a while now.
Most of our forests are still common property, mine, yours and every Estonian citizen's that some are nonetheless treating as their private property. It needs to end.
However, the CO2 circus should be viewed from a distance, keeping in mind that it is big business and a political cudgel for some that, unfortunately, fixes little and is instead leading us away from the right path. Let us care for our nature, woods, earth, birds, animals and fish as that can help us weather hard times. I'm sure that nature will provide if we can do that.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski