The Hydrocarbon Diet: Vote for parties who aren’t going to give up and go for a curry

In the Guardian today:

In a recent private conversation under the Chatham House rule, one of the world’s most senior industry leaders, who is considered to be at the more moderate end of the spectrum, insisted that we are going to burn all the world’s hydrocarbons despite the consequences.

His reasoning is that a growing population in the developing world needs energy to raise living standards, that renewables will not become a dominant energy source till the end of the century and that politicians don’t have the courage or power to limit production.

Reminds me of the recent Horizon special “What’s the Right Diet for You?” whereby two groups of dieters were given slices of cake at 700 calories per slice. One group were told that this was a special dieter’s cake with c. 200 cals. The others were told the truth. After the cake-baking session each group were left with a bunch of cake and a cup of tea. What happened? The ones who had been told the truth ate 8 times more cake than the ones who’d been lied to. The lesson being that if you think you are still on track for the right number of calories in your day, you won’t go on to really bust the limit like the others did. As one of the group who had been told the truth said, “We’d all planned to go for a curry this evening as we’d stuffed our chances of keeping to our limit …”

Seems to me our politicians govern our appetite for hydrocarbons with legislation, and they’re being told the truth. What happens when, as is certain now, we pass 400 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere. In this analysis, they’re just going to metaphorically chuck their hands up and say, “Right, might as well go for a curry chaps, we’ve really blown it now …”

The problem is, that although this is based on pop psychology, I can see it happening all too readily. All these tipping points and limits only give us targets we’re going to miss on the conventional diet of boo-yah politics and industry misinformation.

Is there any hope?

Well, if you want hope you need to vote for parties who aren’t going to give up and go for a curry (allow fracking for example), you’ve got to vote for parties who are going to stick to the diet whatever happens, and make sure the others do too – and just like those who are on a weightloss diet, we do know who the best to parties  are to put our a break on our collective appetite, don’t we?

(Picture from the Guardian article and is by Murdo Macleod/Murdo Macleod)

Scottish Independence? “… the vanguard of a broader populist movement to restore democracy across these islands …” Irvine Welsh in the Guardian today

The Guardian published a series of short opinion pieces by a variety of writers on how they regard Independence. Really. Very. Interesting – whether you agree with Irvine or not.

Aside from Irvine what struck me was the following by Richard Holloway. It articulates exactly how I have felt about the entire debate.

I agree  with the priest in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral who said he saw “nothing quite conclusive in the art of temporal government”. Economics strikes me as no more conclusive a science than theology, which is why I have been more irritated than enlightened by the use each side has made of the dismal science in the debate; but while the arguments of the yes side may not have persuaded me, the arguments of the no side have propelled me in the opposite direction. Rather than making a positive case for the union, the Better Together campaign has wasted its energy on attacking the idea that Scotland could go it alone, a tactic guaranteed to anger those of us for whom the question was never whether we could but whether we should.

And then I think, none of us will ever know which way we should go, even if it was possible to have all the best available advice, because we’ll only ever test one post-referendum reality – the other will lie discarded, untested, on the other side of the 18th September forever. 

The article is here.

A superb collection of singles that (frankly) I have never heard, but wish I had before now. #FutureIslands #OnMyPlaylist

Future Islands – Singles

So I am just older than I’d like to admit, but I am loving this bona fide eccentric (as Kitty Empire calls it in the Guardian)(and therein hangs an indicator if ever there did).