L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

17 March 2009 Blog Home : March 2009 : Permalink

Arctic Ice and Poverty - Linked

The brave explorers (and they are either brave or foolhardy) who are towing a radar ice thickness thingy with them as they head to the North Pole have an intermittent blog on the BBC's website. On it their leader writes:

[C]limate change and the loss of the sea ice up here will affect everybody on the planet - unpredictable weather changes, rises in sea levels are all linked to food shortages and poverty.

Obviously what he means is that if global warming continues we'll get food shortages and poverty. This is a possibility. However the real certain link between Arctic Sea Ice and poverty is actually the opposite. If we implement all these enviromentalist ideas of cutting carbon emissions now then we will sink into poverty and probably into food shortages (at least in the UK which has not been able to feed itself for a couple of centuries).

Let me illustrate: if we (for example) cut out the fuel used in British Agriculture and reduce imports then we'll have to replace that fuel with something else. Cows and horses fart too much so we should in fact use human labour. And of course we'll be farming organicly because that's even more "sustainable". If we look at communities that go that route then instead of about 3% of the workforce feeding the other 97% we have about 50% working in the fields. All day. Six days a week. And that means we'll have needed to move some 50% of city dwellers out into the villages. And there aren't enough schools, hospitals etc. there so education and health standards will drop unless we also move out doctors and teachers. And then the question is where to put all these new rural dwellers. I suppose we can put them in tents (made of sustainable canvas or evil nylon?) for the summer but the word squalid comes to mind. Also words like unhygenic, dysentry and cholera. And then we have the British winter. Are these people expected to huddle up together 25 to a tent while the rain leaks in? or?

I'm sure Britain could indeed cut carbon emissions but I suspect we'd see much of the country return to at best a 1900s standard of living and that, to me, sounds like poverty and food shortages.