Words that flow...

Words and images - powerful elements of our everyday life. Most of the time we take them for granted, but sometimes something happens to make you aware of how important they are... and how thankful you are to have the opportunity to use or appreciate them. Here lies some of my words and pictures (which are untouched apart from cropping, unless I've said otherwise) - Please add your words to mine, and leave a comment. Thanks for visiting!

08 November 2006

Carbon Dioxide 'off-setting' (transferred from 'Sultana Fling')

Pollution and climate change are always somewhere in the news now. There used to be the odd 'enviromental' story on the second-to-last page of the paper, but now it's major news all the time. Why didn't anyone do anything before?

When I was at school, oh so long ago, our science teacher told us how fossil fuels were limited, and would run out in our lifetime. And he also told us about pollution in the industrial age, and the great 'smogs' of London, and how we (as the human race) would have to be careful how we treated our planet. This was (ok, I have to tell...) about 30 years ago. What's been happening in all this time, that pollution is still as bad as ever, and the politicians are still having trouble making the necessary changes?

On the radio, about a couple of months ago, I heard about Target Neutral . I was immediately taken with the idea that the CO2 I was producing, driving round, would be 'off-set' by British Petroleum, by their investing the money in projects for green energy somewhere in the world where, otherwise, 'dirty' energy plants would be built.
They would also donate more funds towards this project each time you swiped the nectar reward card at their petrol stations.

I joined up, paid my £12 yearly 'fee' (the amount worked out on their site as what is needed to off-set the CO2 produced) and felt pretty self-righteous.

It wasn't until later that it occurred to me that they weren't actually putting the funds into reducing the CO2, only trying to stop the emissions increasing. So, who's going to make the reductions?

Quasar's article today reminded me how far we still have to go...

© Annelisa Christensen 3:29 am

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At September 05, 2008 9:06 am, Anonymous Quasar9 said...

Hi Annelise,

The truth is that it is difficult to ask China, India, or Russia and Brazil, or other developing nations to make the reductions - when they clearly have demands for economic growth (to catch up with western standards).

It is down to us to bring on the technological advances, improvements and target reductions in the EU and especially the USA.

Then we can help Eastern Europe, and Russia further clean up their houses - and China, India & Brazil clean up the mess they are making (creating).

As the ESA report tries to point out we have to try and think beyond the local impact to the global impact. But 'we' first need to seriously take it on board ourselves as the current major polluters.

No good asking China to make sacrifices when they are trying to develop - they'll just dismiss it as trying to limit their economic growth.

But if we (the EU) and especially the US are serious about reductions in carbon emissions, then we can, not only stand on the moral high ground, but provide the investment and technological advances to improve the conditions in China, India and Brazil - which ultimately affect their health and 'our' atmosphere.

Thanks for the mention.

At September 05, 2008 9:08 am, Anonymous Annelisa said...

Hello again quasar9. Yes, I totally agree that we, in the more technologically advanced countries have to make the first moves. And that, if we help developing countries go straight into using 'green' energy and means of conservation, then we'll halt the increase of pollution.

I can see that some of the bigger companies are beginning to take this on board, and making small changes, but the majority aren't (and won't unless forced). I just don't understand (finances withstanding) why they haven't already made larger moves. Surely people would be more likely to support companies if they could feel like they were doing something to help (and most get a good, self-righteous kick - like I did- about making any contribution.

I know of several people who use 'green energy' or who've had such things as solar panels fitted. I think there should be more incentive for these sort of schemes, to change the direction the population generally would go. This is where the real power lies, but only if it's quite universal. If more people could be persuaded to move to companies who produce green energy, or if a method could be found whereby people paid for a new solar panel (or similar) system instead of needing to pay their utility bills, then eventually we would all be self sufficient...

It's just an idea...

And, you get a mention in today's post at Words that Flow too! (see if you can spot where...) :-)

At September 05, 2008 9:10 am, Anonymous Matt said...

Hi Annelisa. Unfortunately, as commercial organisations are driven by profit they will do little more than window-dressing unless persuaded by financial inducements (eg. tax benefits, carbon exchange) or are forced by legislation. This means that probably our best chance of progress is by persuading our political leaders that votes will be lost unless they adopt and implement effective policies. In that sense we can all play our part. As you propose, anything that encourages the use of solar panels or other green energy sources will help. Perhaps if green energy can become as fashionable as organic food then we could see some real progress...
By the way, I enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts on all three of your blogs. Best wishes. Matt.

At September 05, 2008 9:11 am, Anonymous Annelisa said...

Totally agree, Matt! Although we don't feel like it the majority of the time, it is us that holds the power (not that politicians would ever want us to know that! :-) )

Maybe, if more people could put it at the top of the agenda, and shout louder about it, it would wake up the rest of us, who 'do the best we can' with recycling/ turning off switches etc. I think people do try once they know about an issue, in general anyhow, but there often isn't the facilities or services so readily available that we can really do our bit! As much as we want to...

I guess we need some spokesmen/women (seeing as the politicians don't seem to be that, though that is what they're voted in for...) to get the majority of us of our backsides!

As you say, if it became fashionable.... then things might really start moving.

Thanks for taking a look at my posts - always good to see a new face (and I always appreciate when someone says something nice too... :-)

At September 05, 2008 9:12 am, Anonymous QUASAR9 said...

Hi Annelisa,
So much to see, so much to enjoy
like to a child every day brings joy

It is amazing how from all the variables in the Universe, from all the diverse galaxies, and from all the planets in the Solar System, life and especially 'human life' is confined between such fine parameters

We are 'living miracles'
really really quite unique

At September 05, 2008 9:13 am, Anonymous Renegade said...

CO2 is one of the toughest compounds to scrub from the environment... the chances of us making any headway toward that goal in our lifetime are slim to none.

So, in the meantime... our technology does enable us to invent better filtering systems and to reduce emissions.

It's a good start IMO, I sure hope the government can focus on environmental issues a lot more in the future.

At September 05, 2008 9:14 am, Anonymous Annelisa said...

Quasar9 - yes, we are living miracles- ane we should enjoy every moment of it! Aren't we so lucky to be a part of it?!

Renegade - It does appear that the pressure is on for the government to do something! I just hope, just for once (though it's doubtful) they can stop thinking purely of counter pressure from the big companies, and reverse it so those companies have to do their bit too....

Better filtering and CO2 reductions would definately be a start, but I'm sure there must be other things that can be done as well.


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