The Reality of 80% Cuts
It may seem obvious but action needs be divided into two parts: things we need to stop doing and things we need to start doing.
We need to stop doing anything that produces CO2 or methane or nitrous oxides that is not strictly necessary.
We need to start doing whatever we can to substitute where we need to: one material or process for another, one behaviour for another.
This means building new economic activity and employment that use the minimum of fossil fuels.
There will be very large numbers in the urban environment without gainful employment as a consequence of cutting emissions. Farming and forestry are the only areas that can realistically deliver sustainable employment and economic activity of the scale necessary. Economics is the arrangement of how resources and services are distributed in a society. Sacrificing the environment to a particular economic arrangement is a delusion we can no longer afford. Due to the worlds dwindling fossil fuel reserves it makes sense to change now rather than later.
High Carbon emissions and consumption are associated with city and urban dwelling. Today in the UK 80% of the population live in towns and cities only 20 % in rural areas. 2% of the population are employed in farming and forestry.
The farming and forestry in this 2% are predominantly industrial and intensive. Farming and forestry used to produce all our energy in the form of food, fuel and materials. Before high fossil fuel use began during the industrial revolution, farming and forestry were society’s primary net producers of energy in the form of crops providing food energy, wood providing solid fuel. One hundred years ago farming and forestry employed more than one third of the people in the UK to do this essential work.
Re-ruralisation and re-localisation are the things we should be doing now. This is a major project.
Twenty years ago world “leaders” met at Rio for a summit on the environment. From this many initiatives were created aiming to address the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions. Since then emissions have risen by about 40%. There is no reason to put any faith in a top down political solution. It is up to ordinary people to take responsibility and act together.