Thursday, November 16, 2006

Save the Planet: Cancel the Olympics

Iain Dale, inspired by the Economist, argues that it is pointless to attempt to prevent climate change by torturing ourselves with devices like Mayor Ken Livingstone's £25 London congestion charge on high emission cars. Dale's point is that it would be much more effective use of our time to persuade and/or assist China and India to pursue low emission policies. They are the big new producers of atmospheric carbon with China likely to pass America within a decade. The obvious flaw in this argument is that neither China nor India will listen to us if we do nothing to cut our own carbon emissions. Why should they? So good for Mayor Ken then? Not quite. Livingstone is a big booster of the 2012 London Olympics. This project has, inevitably, slumped into the usual rows over cost and, judging by our experience with Wembley Stadium, I would not be surprised if we became the first country to hold the Games a year or three late. But, of course, we shouldn't be holding them at all. The project will result in massive new emissions of carbon both from the building work and by the Games themselves as athletes and those mysterious 'officials' fly in from all over the world and then fly out again. I bet that the reduction in emissions caused by the new congestion charge will be a tiny percentage of the increase caused by the Olympics. Ken hasn't gone green, he's still Ken, the same old smirking opportunist.


  1. This is like the arms race all over again, except the button has been pressed already in this case and we are awaiting the fallout. Our mutual destruction is assured at some time in the future if we don't do something now. But nobody is willing to make the first move. Why should we cut are emissions if they won't? Like the arms race, it is perverse and defies logic. Or maybe not. Isn't short-term gain axiomatic in the consumerist age?

  2. I'd ban Formula 1 in that case! Thats got to be the worlds biggest polluting 'sport'! When one considers transportation on top of their boring circuit routine. Oh no can't ban that as too much money is made from it....silly me.