Beat it, it’s the emissions heat
Carbon Cops 8pm, ABC Blame, embarrassment and middleclass guilt are the key ingredients
LIFESTYLE television tells the story of our lives. It discovers pop stars, survives eviction, loses weight, runs restaurants and buys, renovates and sells property. Now it’s turning its blistering insight on the latest hot issue du jour, climate change.
In the opening episode of Carbon Cops, two earnest young environmentalists, Lish Fejer and Sean Fitzgerald, blow the lid on the source of most of the world’s increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It seems most of them are coming from the Barrie household, an affluent middle- class family living somewhere in inner Melbourne. It’s a relief for the rest of us to finally have someone to blame.
And that’s just it. Blame, embarrassment and middle- class guilt are the key ingredients in this latest ABC contribution to the moral crusade underpinning popular discourse on climate change.
Two- thirds of Australia’s emissions come from industry and the rapid growth of developing economies poses an extraordinary economic challenge to cutting global emissions.
But don’t tell the Carbon Cops. Dressed in emergency orange tenpin bowling shirts, these moral police have launched a house by house campaign of name and shame to expose the excess and selfishness of ordinary Australian households that wastefully emit tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
Each week they teach a household a new way of living to reduce greenhouse emissions by ‘‘ modifying their luxury lifestyle’’.
And who better to start on than the Barries, a family of four that boasts a backyard pool, big and well- lit house, two cars and Dad’s successful small business. They even have a bar fridge.
In total they generate 62 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, four times the household average. ‘‘ Shame!’’ admonishes Lish. Thank goodness they don’t have airconditioning.
Then the epiphany begins. The Barries are challenged to cut their emissions by half. They undergo an energy audit complete with a moral compass that lights up and beeps when the family is using too much electricity, which seems to be most of the time.
The pool pump is singled out and shut down, as is the tumble dryer, insink food waste disposer and the 100- odd halogen and other lights around the house.
Extensive but uncosted modifications are made to the house and a home compost bin is installed, as is a pool blanket and low- energy lights.
But that’s not enough. Mum admits to feeling guilty and discovers that all this time they have lived near enough to the kids’ school that she can walk with them there instead of driving.
In the end it’s Dad’s chequebook that comes to the rescue, buying offsets for his air and car travel and more expensive green energy for the house. Smug smiles all around. Moral crisis averted, but then it’s all in a day’s work for the Carbon Cops.
Just the facts, ma’am: Carbon Cops hosts Sean Fitzgerald and Lish Fejer