I can usually ignore the vacuous stupidity of some of the posts made by the LibDems on Freedom Central, but this morning's offering was so bad that it deserves to be highlighted.
William Powell is calling for the Labour Government to commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Wales by 100%, supposedly to "meet Wales' obligations on the world stage".
Does he, or do the LibDems in general, really think it is possible for Wales to have a "zero emissions target"? Do they have the faintest idea what this would mean?
The two major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane. CO2 emissions are produced by burning hydrocarbons as fuel, generally to generate electricity, for heating, for transport, and for various industrial processes.
Yes, it would certainly be possible to generate all our electricity from renewable sources without the need to burn any hydrocarbons; that's quite an easy target to hit, and much sooner than by 2050. It's also quite feasible switch from gas to electricity for general heating and cooking, supplemented by solar thermal panels and ground source heat pumps.
Transport is slightly more problematic. Trains can easily be electrified, and I would expect most road vehicles to be powered either by electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells far sooner than 2050, but air travel won't be so easy. It's hard to imagine any real alternative to burning hydrocarbons for long distance air travel.
Fireflash was powered by six atomic engines but nuclear was never a very clever idea, then or now. To quote the Wikia entry:
"the shielding around the reactor requires servicing at the end of every flight, limiting its flight time to around 3-4 hours before everyone aboard is exposed to lethal levels of radiation."
Then, when it comes to industry, it's again hard to imagine how we could produce something like steel without burning hydrocarbons. But perhaps the LibDems are not expecting countries like Wales to manufacture things like steel in the future.
The absurdity of the LibDem's aims is even more apparent when it comes to methane, which is a very much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In order to achieve this "zero emissions target", we would need to completely abandon livestock farming in Wales, since the natural processes of farm animals account for some 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FAO.
So perhaps Carwyn Jones shouldn't be so worried about the UK's potential exit from the EU destroying farming in Wales ... the real danger to farming in Wales is going to come from the LibDems instead.
And of course, humans are subject to the same natural processes, so to avoid the release of any anthropogenic methane, we would have to completely depopulate Wales.
More seriously, climate change is important, but the aim is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global rise in temperature ... not to do away with them completely. The LibDems are making what they know, or at least should know, is an impossible demand. It's an old political trick. They're probably saying it because they think it makes them look "green", but over-simplistic statements actually detract from any meaningful discussion of how we live sustainably.