sions over the last century have a duty to lead action on climate change;”
and “it is fair to share CO2 emission rights equally across the world’s
population.” Such assertions are not “either true or false.” Whether we
agree with them depends on our ethical judgment, on our values. Ethical
assertions may be incompatible with each other; for example, Tony Blair’s
government declared a radical policy on CO2 emissions: “the United King-
dom should reduce its CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050;” at the same time
Gordon Brown, while Chancellor in that government, repeatedly urged
oil-producing countries to increase oil production.
This book is emphatically intended to be about facts, not ethics. I want
the facts to be clear, so that people can have a meaningful debate about
ethical decisions. I want everyone to understand how the facts constrain
the options that are open to us. Like a good scientist, I’ll try to keep my
views on ethical questions out of the way, though occasionally I’ll blurt
something out – please forgive me.
Whether it’s fair for Europe and North America to hog the energy cake
is an ethical question; I’m here to remind you of the fact that we can’t
have our cake and eat it too; to help you weed out the pointless and inef-
fective policy proposals; and to help you identify energy policies that are
compatible with your personal values.
We need a plan that adds up!
At the end of each chapter I note details of ideas in that chapter, sources of data and quotes, and pointers to further information.
2“...no other possible way of doing that except through renewables”; “anybody who is relying upon renewables to ﬁll
the [energy] gap is living in an utter dream world and is, in my view, an enemy of the people.” The quotes are from
Any Questions?, 27 January 2006, BBC Radio 4 [ ]. Michael Meacher was UK environment minister from 1997
till 2003. Sir Bernard Ingham was an aide to Margaret Thatcher when she was prime minister, and was Head of the
Government Information Service. He is secretary of Supporters of Nuclear Energy.
–Jonathon Porritt (March 2006). Is nuclear the answer? Section 3. Advice to Ministers. www.sd-commission.org.uk
3“Nuclear is a money pit”, “We have a huge amount of wave and wind.” Ann Leslie, journalist. Speaking on Any
Questions?, Radio 4, 10 February 2006.
–Los Angeles residents drive ... from Earth to Mars – (The Earthworks Group, 1989, page 34).
–targetneutral.com charges just £4 per ton of CO2 for their “neutralization.” (A signiﬁcantly lower price than any
other “offsetting” company I have come across.) At this price, a typical Brit could have his 11 tons per year “neutral-
ized” for just £44 per year! Evidence that BP’s “neutralization” schemes don’t really add up comes from the fact that its
projects have not achieved the Gold Standard www.cdmgoldstandard.org (Michael Schlup, personal communication).
Many “carbon offset” projects have been exposed as worthless by Fiona Harvey of the Financial Times [ ].
4People who want to promote renewables over nuclear, for example, say “offshore wind power could power all UK
homes.” At the end of 2007, the UK government announced that they would allow the building of offshore wind