For those of us who love to sit by a log fire in a pub or at home, the announcement of a ban on sales of ‘wet wood’ (moisture content higher than 20%) from February next year, appears to have been most unwelcome and I have been inundated with complaints from constituents denouncing this latest surrender to climate activism.
I think they are wrong on two counts.
First, anyone who has wasted their time trying to burn wet wood will know what a miserable source of heat that it is. Anyway, on my reading of the proposal, enjoyment of my the log fire will not diminish: Moderately sized deliveries of logs (not less than 2 cubic meters) for storage and seasoning at home before burning will be permitted, as will the sale of kiln-dried wood.
Second, the measure is not driven by climate change activism so much as clean air / health activism. The PM25 particles that are targeted by the ban are among the most damaging because they are the smallest and therefore, penetrate further into our lungs. The presence of these micro particles has been in very steep decline for 40 years but there has been a slight rise since 2017, perhaps reflecting the growing popularity of wood-burning stoves.
Having raised the issue of climate activism however, there are other privations which will no doubt be demanded of us.
There has been Citizen’s Assembly taking place over 4 weekends , where a random selection of our fellow citizens have been deliberating, with the help of ‘experts’ , to consider what changes in lifestyle we will be prepared to tolerate in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
My own view is that the only legitimate and accountable citizen’s assembly is Parliament.
The legitimacy of this climate assembly rests on the fact that it was commissioned by the select committees on The House of Commons -before the election.
Well, we will see what they come up with…but no Parliament can bind its successor.
As we scramble to cut our emissions by all sorts of sacrifices however, aren’t we missing something rather obvious?
Last week BP announced plans to eliminate its carbon footprint by 2050. Shell, which made a $15 billion profit last year, responded by saying that it will examine BP’s proposals to understand exactly how they are calculated and set up, but the chief executive added “once we understand them we’ll think about them but, at the moment, I don’t think we need to get into an arms race of CO2 targets”.
On the contrary, a CO2 reduction arms race is exactly what we need to get the oil companies into: they represent 10% of the world economy and their product is by far the greatest source of emissions worldwide. If we require them to become carbon neutral our problem will be largely solved.