Whenever someone uses the term “sceptic” to dignify a pro-fossil fuels fossil, there’s a certain linguistic cringe factor on the part of this little black duck. Let’s step back for a minute.
Surely someone who defends the “business as usual” approach of burning the limited carbonised remains of the dinosaur age to power the digital age instead of investing in the endlessly abundant solar/geothermal/wind/efficiency/biogas/innovation approaches is as much a Luddite as those who smashed textile looms to try and forestall the advance of mechanisation and steam power?
Surely the appropriate word for that is “anti-progress”?
Oddly enough, that’s an epithet more often thrown by the fossil types at those who brandish the concept of advances in renewable energy – which is quite frankly far newer and more exciting than simply burning the black stuff.
But let’s take the fracker’s approach and drill even deeper beneath the crust of headlines and pull-quotes from the token carbonised dill. Let’s get to the very waters of the issue and see if we can redirect the mud-slinging.
Climate change is, according to the best available science, a fact. Adding carbon dioxide to the planet warms it up. But what else do we add to the atmosphere and water and soil with all that CO2?
We add pollution. We add particulate matter and complicated compounds so new no one has ever sat down in a lab and worked out if they play nice when they gang up with all their other newly created multi-molecular mates and try and mix with carbon-based life-forms like corals, koalas and human children.
Yes, the rate of cancer is on the rise. Yes, our kids are fatter, madder, sadder and more prone to “conduct disorders” than ever. But as that’s never been proven, in a lab, to be the result of the stew of new fangled industrial substances we’re steeped in from birth, there’s no warning label for it. Just because we see it as an observable trend, apparently, it is not a reason to follow the precautionary principle.
A bit like the way no one in the industry could claim adding a roof garden and shaded landscaping created cooler areas in the built environment until it had been proven in a proper and funded scientific fashion.
But all that stuff we can see emerging from smokestacks, and tail pipes, and creating a grey-yellow haze on still days in our capital cities, the grime we wipe off our faces at night, all goes hand-in-hand with the galloping and galumphing rate of greenhouse gas emissions.
Almost every nasty, unsustainable thing you can think of comes with a pollution quotient. Coal burning power? Have a free side of heavy metals and particulate matter on the breeze with that. Fracking? Now there’s a way to tackle obesity – we’ll have less agricultural land that can grow healthy food, water full of god knows what – and bonus – a climate like a sauna you can never get out of. Bigger roads for ever more fossil fuel burning cars? Mmmm, as the citizens of Beijing, Mexico City, LA and Sydney know, it sure does add a certain gritty texture to the atmosphere and make it an even gamble whether you should plan for old age or a funeral before 60.
The reality is, those who support, endorse and actively engage in the fossil fuel industries are pro-pollution.
Pro-pollution. Gee, it doesn’t sound so righteous and progressive and clever when you put it like that. Sceptic has a ring of the avant garde “you can’t pull the wool over my eyes with bulldust” about it – people who don’t believe in fairies, for example.
But pro-pollution? That’s the basic position they are taking. It’s a term I prefer, because what kind of selfish duffer would you have to be to be pro-pollution?