The BBC’s fixation with global warming produced a new insight this morning. It opened up a whole new line of questioning for the Green movement, which left their spokesman advocating that people should have a higher carbon footprint, for fear of sounding as if he wanted to kill off all the much loved cats and dogs we keep as pets.
The new topic was the carbon paw print of mogs and dogs. Apparently a large dog requires as much as 1 ton of carbon a year, or around 7% of the average British person’s carbon footprint. As I do not currently keep a pet, that makes me even greener than I realised.
The interviewer made a very good point. Turning to the green spokesman, she asked if people should stop owning pets to cut their carbon footprint. I assume she was kind enough to mean as nature takes its course with all the lovely animals people currently own. He realised the trap, and defended pet ownership as a pleasure we might need, suggesting pet owners should drive less to compensate. The last thing he wanted was the headline “Greens propose mass doggy and moggy murders to save the planet”. The greens always unite against the car, though it represents a modest proportion of the carbon total.
Not to miss the trick, the interviewer countered by saying why couldn’t people without pets buy a gas guzzling vehicle for their pleasure, as this would produce less additional carbon than a large dog? The Green spokesman was bright enough to have to follow the logic, and effectively conceded that non pet owners might well legitimately want to drive more, as long as everyone kept to a sensible average carbon footrpint.
I wonder if this question of the carbon paw print will develop legs? Will someone come forward with the idea that we should start to wean our furry friends off meat, and try and breed vegan pets with special low carbon impacts? Will someone else propose a recommended size limitation on animals we keep at home? It certainly makes a change from the endless discussions of how we should limit personal mobility.
What we need is some commonsense in this debate, an acceptance that we want to become greener and cleaner, to recycle more and waste less, to generate power in a more efficient way and to lift our fuel efficiency at home, on the move and at work as rapidly as possible. We need to cut our dependence on imported fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Cutting down on pets or stopping people driving should not be part of such a commonsense approach.