What you going to cut?

The great Global Warming Talk-Fest of Copenhagen is coming up soon.

One of the common demands being made is for a cut of Carbon Dioxide emissions by 80% (by 2040 or something like that).

So, in purely practical terms, how can one cut emissions that much? Bear in mind that ranting about governments doing so is silly. Only PEOPLE can, by their actions, cut emissions. Everything else is fudging.

Cutting emissions by 80%, of neccessity means that emissions would be about 20% of what they are today. Allowing for renewables, perhaps more efficient transport and so on might deliver on some of this. But in the end people will have to change their ways.

What are you prepared to give up? Because change of lifestyle will be mandatory. The following are ALL essential to meet the target, so you can’t pick and choose. You need to do them all:

- Driving to work – only permitted one day a week. If cars get REALLY energy efficient, then 2 days per week might be possible. This assumes cars are twice as efficient as today. Electric cars don’t count, they only shift the emission somewhere else – to the big evil coal buring power station.

- Air travel – only one (return) overseas plane flight per lifetime. Choose wisely now! Jet engines might get more efficient, but doubling the km per litre of fuel? Maybe…. In which case, two overseas holidays per lifetime. And forget nipping over to Melbourne or Sydney to see friends on a cheap flight – that’ll be a complete no-no.

- Plasma TV – but you can only watch one night a week. If you have an LCD TV, you can watch 2 nights a week. Which won’t matter, because to use less power, radio TV stations will only be permitted to broadcast for 1.5 days per week. Perhaps this is no great loss.

- Backyard swimming pools – totally forbidden. Pools need to run the filter and pump typically a few hours each day in order to remain¬†hygienic. If the pump can only be run for 20% of the time, the pool won’t be fit to use, so drain and fill it. This has the added benefit in a dry country plagued by drought of reducing domestic / city water consumption.

- Ditto spa’s of all kinds – heating the water means that these won’t be worth having.

- Assuming LED lighting is a success (it will be), the efficiency of lamps will be about 3 to 4 x incandescent. That means you can run your house lights for about 4, or maybe 5 nights a week. If you use only half of them, you can have light every night.

- Refrigerators larger than a bar fridge will have to become illegal. Beer fridges will be totally forbidden. Even these smaller fridges will be a stretch.

- All amplified music and rock concerts will have to set the volume no higher than 2 out of 10. Limiters will be imposed by law on all new audio equipment to enforce this.

- Cooked meals will be permitted for only 1 in 5 meals. Typically this means that a cooked dinner will be allowed roughly once every second evening.

- A hot shower will be permitted once every 5 days. The remaining time the water must not be heated to avoid burning anything. This does not present much of a problem on a 45 degree Adelaide summer day, but it will be something of a challenge for Melbournites during their winter.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Reducing emissions means using less. By us all. Does the above sound extreme? That’s what is being expected of us.


Being married to a meteorologist who daily tears (his remaining) hair out re Andrew Bolt’s climate change denials and his own personal fears for the future, it is extremely worrying.

…and shows just how far removed we’ve become from nature and reality to be shocked at your examples of the changes we’d need to make in order to reduce our emissions.

I’m waiting for someone to work out how we can harness energy from exercise bike and treadmills for our home. It’d solve (or go part way to solving) two problems – obesity and alternative sources of energy! After all, the professor on Gilligan’s island managed to do it.

Comment by Kath Lockett | October 27th, 2009 7:46 am | Permalink
Comment by Darren Hazelton | October 27th, 2009 2:37 pm | Permalink

okay; I don’t drive, I don’t use air travel, don’t have a plasma tv, don’t have a backyard swimming pool, nor a spa, lights? most of the time only one is on (so that I can see to type this), don’t go to concerts, we don’t cook everyday because we always cook extra and just microwave leftovers the next day or eat sandwiches for dinners. All of my don’ts should be enough that I can still have my 3 minute hot shower to ease my aching muscles, right?

Comment by river | October 27th, 2009 6:37 pm | Permalink

It breaks my heart driving to work and watching one person per car.I car pool with my daughter 4 days a week but my shithead boss wants me there 8:30 till 5:30 despite the fact that I can work anytime between 7am and 7pm so I sit, in traffic. Bugger the carbon footprint the stupidity of non essential services working standard hours never ceases to amaze me. Mind you I’d happily drain the pool! And you know in reality, we’ll burn the same amount just offset it with some poor country where there are no modern conveniences. The planet won’t be much better off but our consciences will be clear.

Comment by Baino | October 27th, 2009 6:39 pm | Permalink

I grew up in conditions just as you describe. No electricity, no hot water service, no running water, no sewerage and certainly no car. It was hell!! One of my jobs as a child was to pump up two kerosene buckets [8 gallons] of water every morning from our underground tank for my mother to use in the kitchen before I went to school. A 5 year old child staggering into the house with two 4 gallon buckets of water!!
In 1943, we moved to the city and got sewerage, running water inside the house, a chip heater for hot water and a gas stove and electric lights. Of all these things, the electric light was the best. Just imagine having to do your homework by the light of a candle or a kerosene light and then having the benefits of a whole 40 candlepower to yourself. That was bliss. Forget the radio and TV [well what was that?] The greatest invention of civilization is the electric light; it gives you more day to do things.
Now it just so happens that I do not believe in global warming [sorry Kath] and think that the whole issue has just been dreamed up to keep certain scientists in Government grants. And I have just come back from Europe where we spent half our time in Berlin and the rest in the old DDR [East Germany]. We were last in the old DDR in 1989 just before the wall came down and you could not see more than 400 metres at mid day in summer. Today from the window of our hotel in Dresden, we could see mountain ranges on the distant horizon, everything is cleaner and clearer ad there are of course lots more cars on the roads but these days they are small diesels mostly not the sputtering 2 stroke Trabants and Wartburgs of 20 years ago. The power stations near great cities in Germany emit no fumes [not even the water vapour stream beloved of newspaper editors to show pollution] so things REALLY have improved. I have been there twice and know for a fact.
And as for cars I have just bought the biggest most expensive car I have ever owned in my life and I enjoy every minute that I drive it especially when I think of the grief it is causing to all the greenies. And by the way it gives me hours more to use every day and I have just spent a month using public transport every day in Germany and I know how much time it wastes just walking to the U barn or bus and carrying back groceries from the local supermarket every day [none of this shopping once or twice a week and using your car to shop].
So pardon me if I am sceptical but global warming is a load of B..hit and all who sincerely believe in it should keep on wearing their hair shirts and be issued with a suicide pill. On the day when they can’t take the hair shirt of ordinary everday living any more [or you could say benefiting from 2000 years of civilization] just take your pill and leave the rest of us in peace.


Comment by Dad | October 27th, 2009 8:28 pm | Permalink

What can I say. If we are all to cut as the demands are being made then everybody HAS to cut.

So river, that means you take the pain just like the guy with the 4WD. 20% of current is 20% of current consumption. Period.

Is this what we all really want?

Comment by Wally | October 27th, 2009 9:02 pm | Permalink

This whole thing is predicated on our NEVER getting any source of power which doesn’t create CO2. However one day we will crack the problem of controlled nuclear fusion. The greenies will be OK with it because fusion produces helium as a waste product (Ok I am gilding the lily a bit here, there will be low grade nuclear waste when the dismantle the reactors one day but it’s nothing like the tonnes of waste from fission plants). BTW I am with Dad on this, human generated CO2 may not actually effect our global temperature. However, the increased CO2 will increase the pH of the sea and krill etc won’t be able to create their shells due to the inability to fix calcium carbonate in an acid environment. This is why we should reduce our CO2 to nil if we can.

Comment by Jack | October 28th, 2009 2:37 pm | Permalink

There is a LOT of energy used in manufacturing goods. You will have to forget about changing your car every few years. Same with mobile phones, laptops, TVs etc.

Comment by darren | November 1st, 2009 3:39 pm | Permalink

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