The BBC was only half right

A recent piece on the BBC website entitled “What is climate change?  A really simple guide” is  good until you reach the end:

The piece says:

What can individuals do?

Significant changes need to come from governments and businesses, but scientists say some minor changes in our lives can limit our impact on the climate:

  • take fewer flights
  • live car-free or use an electric car
  • reduce consumption of meat and dairy products
  • reduce your energy use
  • buy energy-efficient products, such as washing machines, when they need replacing
  • improve your home insulation
  • switch from a gas heating system to an electric heat pump

My comments

  • All flights require fossil fuels to build and operate planes, runways and terminals.
  • Electric cars require FF to make them and roads to run them on.
  • Alternatives to meat and dairy require FF to make them.  It is an industrial process.
  • Energy-efficient products require FF to manufacture them.
  • Home insulation requires making homes to be airtight and mechanically ventilated.
  • Heat pumps need replacing after 20 years or with no guarantee that this will be affordable.

I had assumed that alternative energy sources intended to replace FF.  But it turns out that the alternatives are adding to the total energy available, not replacing the FF.

The underlying concept of the BBC article may be that the changes suggested for individuals will contribute to the maintenance of industrial society.   But an all-electric economy would have to be smaller than the current economy. 

So, no matter what, the economy will have to shrink.  And will be quite different from today’s economy.