Well yesterday was 7/7/07 and the big Live Earth Concert which has saved us all just in the nick of time. By the middle of Madonna's second number, the Greenland Ice Sheet had started to refreeze and what with Al Gore's enormous investment in carbon offsets, we should all be laying in extra firewood for the cold winters ahead. Polar bears are celebrating.
Sarcasm aside, this whole event is quite depressing in the way it typifies our pathetic response to the very real climate crisis. Scientists like Monbiot and Lovelock are painting a very grim picture; according to the latter, we may already have passed the critical "tipping point" where the earth system is going into positive feedback through reduced albedo and released methane from the melting of the Canadian and Siberian permafrost. People at all levels, even the thickest of politicians, are finally facing the facts, about twenty years too late.
But what are we doing about it? Putting in flourescent bulbs mostly. And on the political level, setting ambitious "targets" decades in the future, targets without concrete plans in most cases.
And, oh yeah, holding rock concerts. A really good article from the online Daily Mail has the following snippet;
A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that far from saving the planet, the extravaganza will generate a huge fuel bill, acres of garbage, thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, and a mileage total equal to the movement of an army.
The most conservative assessment of the flights being taken by its superstars is that they are flying an extraordinary 222,623.63 miles between them to get to the various concerts - nearly nine times the circumference of the world. The true environmental cost, as they transport their technicians, dancers and support staff, is likely to be far higher.
The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists' and spectators' travel to the concert, and the energy consumption on the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tonnes of carbon emissions, according to John Buckley of Carbonfootprint.com, who specialises in such calculations.
But take solace in the fact that they've bought all kinds of guilt removing "carbon offsets."
The hard fact is that if we can stop this warming at all (which is doubtful, curly light bulbs or no) it can only be done by massively scaling back our (meaning the rich countries) lifestyles. Use less power, travel less, consume less. In many cases it may not hurt to eat less. Nobody wants to face up to that yet, and probably won't until Mother Nature scales back our lifestyles for us, the hard way.