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Letter: Those of us at the top will not change

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SIR – The debate over the tactics of Extinction Rebellion groups distracts from looking at the numbers. The best estimate is that carbon pollution/generation will increase (yes increase) globally by 16% this decade. And Sue Perkins (of Bake Off fame) explained why in one sentence.

In 2014 she did a superb travel series up the Mekong River, you can find it on catch up. In brief, half way up she stops at a typical poor village and sits beside a mum with her children, asking her, “And what do you want?” Villagers nowadays have smartphones. She looks straight at Perkins and says, “I want what you’ve got”. Rather stunned, she says off camera almost, “and why not”. Well, why not?

Extinction Rebellion activists at Fawley in August
Extinction Rebellion activists at Fawley in August

Because of the numbers. There are 8-billion of us, going on 11-billion before we decline. We A&T readers are comfortably in the top 1-billion, maybe another 2-billion are happy with their lot. That leaves 5-billion and growing that “Want what we’ve got”. They want all the infrastructure, healthcare, holidays – oh and second homes would be nice. Five billion are slowly building themselves first world assets and that will take an awful lot of carbon, destruction and pollution.

Meantime us at the top, whether we are XR protestors, sympathisers or hostile; we are in the end not prepared to change in any way at all.

Look at the recent fuss in the media over holidays, travel, even CO2 packaged food this week. Hell, we won’t even obey the speed limits in the New Forest to save a bit of fuel and some animals, never mind our holiday homes.

Whatever that solution is, it is not in XR protests.

Peter Padfield,

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