The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Act On CO2: Apparently We Can Only Control 40% Of Carbon

Posted by keith on October 13th, 2009

This is a beautiful, sad advert produced by an agency of the British government. Very powerful, very moving.

It tells us that we are responsible for “over 40% of the CO2”, which is caused by ordinary, everyday things, like heating, powering appliances and driving.

The governments and their corporate masters, decided that they couldn’t afford to tell people that around 30% of all the CO2 was the result of the generation of electricity; electricity that ordinary people use directly, or indirectly in the things they buy, and the things that form the infrastructure that we all use. That might make people go to extra efforts, and stop them doing lots of things that keep civilisation moving.

And the same corporations told the governments most emphatically, that they couldn’t mention the other 30% that was the direct result of manufacturing and transporting all the things that the adverts made ordinary people want to buy, for that would mean the ordinary people might stop buying things and the economy would stop growing, and the corporations would hurt.

The outcome of this was that the British government produced a beautiful film that lots of people would be touched by, and decide that, “yes” they would do their bit, and try and cut carbon emissions by just 40%.

And the other 60%?

Don’t tell.

2 Responses to “Act On CO2: Apparently We Can Only Control 40% Of Carbon”

  1. gswork Says:

    “That might make people go to extra efforts, and stop them doing lots of things that keep civilisation moving.”


    i thought you’d be too jaded by now to hold such an innocent thought!

    I saw the ad and at least it hinted at one’s ability to exert control over one’s life.

    It refers to 40% of the CO2, halving that would mean an actual reduction in emissions of only 20% (although that would be really dramatic!)

    The problem of individuals making marginal reductions is that it is quickly frustrated by seeing, for instance, a shop at night still blazing with light, which uses more energy than you’ve just saved several times over. People end up feeling too small.

    Conversely focusing only on the big movers (e.g. airline industry) makes people feel less worried about their ‘tiny’ impact, though collectively its bigger. “there’s no point in giving up my SUV until the airlines are sorted out” – that kind of thinking is ironically similar to “my SUV doesn’t make a difference when you think about those volcanoes”, which is a counter-green argument I’ve heard.

    the ‘green movement’ as such, especially combined with various anti-industrial/market ideas tend to perversely encourage this “what’s the point” belief by focusing on big organizations or ‘the market’ and inadvertently (or not?) removing all responsibility and thus empowerment from individuals.

    making scapegoats of big business ironically fails at an individual level because really you should be asking “why did *you* choose an SUV” rather than saying “isn’t GM oh so bad”, to which the SUV driver can happily reply “yeah, I’m so cool and anti-establishment myself, ahem…, anyone for a a fairtrade coffee, that sticks it to the man, man…”

    hmmm, now I’m being jaded :)

  2. keith Says:

    Maybe I was too subtle. The whole article was cynical and ironic (apart from it being a beautiful ad)


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