De­grees of co-oper­a­tion

David Slack’s al­ter-ego Un­cle Dave tack­les cli­mate change and comes up with a very com­mie con­clu­sion.

Sunday Star-Times - - SLACK AT THE BACK - @DavidSlack

Loyal read­ers will know when the go­ing gets re­ally tough this col­umn turns to your old mate Un­cle Dave to fix things with a can of CRC, or some duct tape, or liquor. This week we will be need­ing mostly liquor.

Joe: Hi Un­cle Dave, it was all over the news this week that by 2040 we could all be more or less stuffed be­cause of cli­mate change. I was sort of ex­pect­ing ev­ery­one to say woah, this changes ev­ery­thing but Dave, as far as I can see, there were two or three days of wor­ry­ing and then we went back to talk­ing about the pres­i­dent with toi­let pa­per on his shoe. Am I miss­ing some­thing?

Joe, the sad truth is we are wedged in our La-Z-Boys. You’re right, it’s hor­ri­fy­ing. If we don’t stop pump­ing car­bon emis­sions at the rate we’re go­ing we’re look­ing at wild­fires, heat waves, drought and flood­ing and huge prob­lems with the world’s food sup­ply in­side 20 years. But what we’re hear­ing mostly is: ‘‘I sure hope some­one does some­thing about this.’’ Sarah: What’s wrong with say­ing that Un­cle Dave?

It’s what we’ve been say­ing for the last 30 years.

Sarah: But it’ll be OK in the end, won’t it?

Plenty of peo­ple were still hop­ing there wouldn’t be a sec­ond world war right un­til the morn­ing the Panz­ers rolled into Poland, Sarah.

Leighton: Come on Dave, ad­mit it, you just hate cars.

Leighton, it’s your god-given right to drive your V8 all the way down SH1 and think to your­self ‘‘all that petrol and I don’t see any dif­fer­ence, how can I be do­ing any harm?’’ But just be­cause you can’t see it hap­pen each time you rev your en­gine doesn’t mean we aren’t ru­in­ing ev­ery­thing by burn­ing fos­sil fu­els and pour­ing it into the at­mos­phere.

Mike: Yeah but get real, Dave, what does a cou­ple of de­grees mat­ter?

At four de­grees, global grain yields could be down by half. How do you fancy food crises ev­ery year? Do you reckon we’d get through them with­out any wars, Mike? Sarah: But isn’t the cost of re­new­able en­ergy com­ing down?

Yes, but for the mo­ment global car­bon emis­sions are still grow­ing. Mark: So come on then, what can we do about it Dave? And don’t say duct tape.

I’m glad you asked that, Mark, be­cause I want to go all com­mie on you. Let’s talk a bit more about World War II be­cause once the US be­came fully in­volved, boy did they ever crank out the planes and tanks and Jeeps and ships. And you know how they did it? They said ‘‘we’re putting ev­ery­thing we can into this’’ and they did. And the gov­ern­ment picked up the tab and it also took charge of pro­duc­tion – and if you’ve seen the news­reels of all the tanks and bombers rolling off the pro­duc­tion lines in the US and Rus­sia you’ll know what a pow­er­ful com­mand econ­omy tak­ing on an ex­is­ten­tial threat looks like. And you might also think ‘‘I’d like one of those please.’’

Mike: Dave, what’s your point? Are we go­ing to bomb the sky?

My point is: what if we re­place ev­ery fos­sil fuel car with an E-ve­hi­cle, at su­per af­ford­able rates? And what if gov­ern­ments were to cover the cost of all that ramped up pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion and ev­ery­thing the way it hap­pened in WW2 when they said, we’ll pick up this tab and we’ll sort it out later? And while we’re at it, how about way way more pub­lic trans­port and all of it free?

Mark: Sounds re­ally easy and straight­for­ward. What else have you got, pro­fes­sor?

Per­sonal train­ers. Peo­ple say they want to be good and cut their car­bon foot­print but they also say it about get­ting fit, but never get around to it un­til they have a per­sonal trainer stand­ing over them mak­ing them do twenty planks and thirty burpees. So how about a per­sonal trainer to get a group of you to­gether in the park at sun­rise and talk over what you’re go­ing to do for the planet for the rest of the day?

Dun­can: Dave, you have to ad­mit he looked pretty stupid with the toi­let pa­per on his shoe.


Pol­lu­tion doesn’t al­ways look so bla­tant – some­times it is as sim­ple as start­ing your car.

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