10:10

The Guardian and the makers of the film ‘Age of Stupid’ have created a new climate change campaign called 10:10 (see http://www.1010uk.org).

The idea is that you sign up and try to cut your carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. Lots of famous people and big businesses have signed up, but, despite being a keen-though -ow-key climate change campaigner, I’ve not yet made that pledge.

Why not?

Well, I think it’s a good idea and will spur people on to make positive changes towards sustainability, but it doesn’t seem well thought out.

Here’s what I think is missing from the campaign:

Measurement

I can’t see 10:10 providing a way of measuring your carbon emissions. Surely this would be key if you’re committing people to reduce those emissions by 10%. How will they measure success of this campaign?

Not even the 10:10 FAQ is of help here!

Focus

If I knew my carbon footprint, I’d then want to know the quickest ways to get them reduced. Knowing whether a certain action will save me 5% or 0.5% would probably be useful in helping me priortise and calculate cost/benefit ratios of my energy saving efforts.

(Actually, a guy at the Guardian has written this useful article – but still nothing directly from 10:10 themselves!)

Detail

Here’s a thing. My employer is a big energy consumer. But, apparently, most of the electricity they buy is nuclear. Does cutting their energy use count to cutting carbon emissions? Well, no!

Would reducing their energy use be s good thing? Well, yes!

And personally, we buy green energy. What’s the deal there?

If we do something to improve efficiency of our home, does that count for both me and my wife? Or do we get half of the saving each?

I’m being slightly picky, but it’s not entirely clear what I need to do to meet the target.

Freedom

For some people, 10:10 will get them started, they will enjoy it and be proud of what they achieve, and they will go on to cut more!

Others will find it a burden and feel guilt for not hitting the target.

And others will do 10%, think that’s their bit done and not do any more.

I’d rather people believed the message and did things because they wanted to, rather than to hit some arbitrary numerical target.

Completeness

Cutting carbon emissions is the focus of 10:10 and maybe it’s good that it has a clear focus. ┬áBut we must do more than cut carbon; we must reduce waste and consumption, and we must build infrastructure that will get us way below 90% of where we are now and allow us to stay there.

Sustainability

Getting thousands of people to cut 10% of their carbon emissions will be great for the planet. But will it instill in people the values of sustainability? Will it create ground level social change? Will it change political will? Will it make businesses environmentally conscious?

Plus, we – my household – already do lots to reduce energy use, live sustainably and cut emissions. We don’t do anything like enough…we’re lazy climateers really. But we try already without 10:10.

And we must try harder.

10:10 sounds great.

Can I honestly urge you to sign up?

No. Not yet at least.

Can I honestly ask you to consider your consumption of the earth’s resources, to evaluate what you need and what you want, to think about giving a few things up for the greater good?

Absolutely! Go for it. Reduce your carbon emissions, energy use, plastic consumption, meat-eating and food waste. Do as much if it as you can. Do it now. And do it regardless of what targets you’ve signed up to.

If you have signed up then fantastic. Seriously, you’ve done a really good, positive thing and I’m excited about how many people have signed up and what impact that might have.

I may even join myself at some point. In the meantime I need to get on with consuming less, driving less, fixing my home’s draughts and making my life more simple and efficient.