Listen to some Europeans and, indeed, Britons and you would think nothing but nothing mattered more than global warming … oops, sorry, climate change … and the way it is being caused by human behaviour (particularly American human behaviour).
Emissions and other supposed human effects on the climate (all unproven scientifically – maybe yes, maybe no) have taken the place of original sin in many people’s calculation. Alas, just as original sin, there seems no way of dealing with it all.
There is Kyoto, of course, the modern equivalent of buying indulgences, but the United States, whose economy it was set up to control, refused to sign up. As did India, China and Brazil, three of the greatest polluters in the world. Their, perfectly sensible, argument is that cleaning up the industrial debris and other aspects of pollution can be done in a rich and developed society. They need to get there. Whether China will do anything about it as it gets richer, remains questionable.
All the same, you would think that the European countries, the torch-bearers (with environmentally friendly torches) of the anti-global warming campaign, would reduce their emission. Not so, but far from it.
According to the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency, as reported by EUObserver,
“Emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases from the whole of the EU increased by 18 million tonnes (0.4%) between 2003 and 2004 while emissions from the EU-15 increased by 11.5 million tonnes (0.3%) in the same period.”Since we do not know for certain that greenhouse gases are climate changing (climate having changed steadily back and forth for millennia) this may not be such a big problem. From the point of view of the European soul, on the other hand, it is important. We are all guilty.
Some, though, may be more guilty than others. How much of this increase is due to ever more frantic travelling round by EU politicians, often to view retreating glaciers and other environmental horrors?