Letters to the Editor (2)

The second in an occasional series of pieces originally written for the Letters page of our local newspaper, the Cambrian News. A new editor has been in post for several months and he seems to be willing to publish letters on controversial subjects in order stimulate debate. The following is due for publication this week and follows on from an earlier letter, posted here.

It is ironic that the publication of more details about the Ceredigion car rally was followed so soon afterwards by the most severe heatwave in UK history, with record temperatures recorded all over England , Wales and Scotland, and wildfires in many eastern areas. The heatwave re-opened our eyes to the dangers of catastrophic global heating, which appears to be with us many years before climate scientists predicted.

This year’s car rally is said to be operating with “a focus on sustainability”. Rally organisers are said to be “looking at every conceivable option to improve the event’s environmental credentials and carbon footprint in a real way”. It is said that the rally will have a “compact route to minimize unnecessary road miles” and that  “measures will be introduced to target a carbon neutral outcome”.

Needless to say any such measures will be but a drop in the ocean of carbon emissions and other pollution created by this totally frivolous and irresponsible event. Although the details are still shrouded in secrecy, some information can be gleaned from their advance publicity. It looks like there will be an additional two night stages involving an extra distance of 41 miles. The number of cars taking part will increase from 120 to 150. A rough calculation suggests that carbon emissions from the timed sections and drivers recce’s will increase by 30%. This puts rally organisers’ claims to be environmentally friendly into context, I think.

We shouldn’t be surprised that rally car drivers to want to drive as fast as possible on country roads for fun because that is what they do. On their behalf rally organisers have produced a catalogue of greenwash and tokenism in an attempt to justify this climate-wrecking event.  But it is quite shocking that Ceredigion District Council have gone hand-in-hand with them in the full knowledge of its repercussions for the climate, and despite the fact that they have themselves declared a climate emergency. What kind of example does this set to the general public who might be confused about what they can or should do about reducing their own carbon footprint?

The UK Government is legally obliged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, although many believe that is far too late. Climatologists also believe that 50% of the required reductions will have to be made this decade, before 2030. How exactly does Ceredigion Council think we are going to reach that goal when it facilitates, partners and promotes events like this? Perhaps they would care to let us know?

Yours etc.

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