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Heat

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Rations Era?

I’m currently reading Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot and on page 55 -I’m far from comforted.

Monbiot has published many books on politics, travel and environment. His work on environmental issues includes; Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; he’s also a blogger at the Guardian. In 1995 he was awarded the United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement presented to  him by Nelson Mandela.

Heat claims to hold the key strategies to finding the politically effective means of both cutting our energy use and reducing its carbon content. I’ve come across a powerful statement and a somewhat obscene suggestion in our global consumerism ridden society, which gave me the title for this post.

Monbiot rightfully claims: ‘The market created by carbon rationing will automatically stimulate demand for low-carbon technologies, such as public transport and renewable energy.”

This is nothing like the carbon market currently in place for industries, in fact it is for you and me and our friends, family and neighbors. The average person’s consumption in a country has to do with their standard of living and almost very little, to nothing, to do with the GDP. I’m certain many will disagrees, but how come when we calculated our footprints in my Environmental Politics class at the American University in Cairo, did the average student get 8 tons per year?

Perhaps what we need to do now is put a strict limit on how much Carbon an individual can emit per year. We did cover this in our DEMENA course last March, but Monbiot suggests we calculate this tackling only electricity consumption and transportation. As in, these two factors can determine if someone is above their limit or not, and similar to the carbon market in place now, people can buy and sell their credits in a carbon brokerage.

Some people will afford to buy (endlessly?) and thus emit (endlessly!). Though, really, how many of these can we have at such a time in history when the economy is in the toilet and political instability isn’t confined to one or two regions anymore. Unfortunately, for the same reasons perhaps, optimism is futile when lobbying for such measures at such times.

I’m eager and desperate to learn about the practical solutions that can be lobbied here in Egypt, as in England – Monbiot claims his solutions will work anywhere – and I hope he’ll deliver them somewhere around page 60!

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