Rationing Goods and Services to Fight Global Warming?

The Guardian is running a column by Lucy Mangan today calling for worldwide rationing of consumer goods to combat global warming:

You could be forgiven for feeling slightly overwhelmed at the literally planet-sized task ahead of us. I felt the same when I started at WeightWatchers. But do you know what? In a rather pleasing illustration of the micro-to-macro principle on which the success of the green movement is predicated, it was at WeightWatchers that I came up with the solution to our climate change problems. Rationing. Worldwide rationing. It solves not only our environmental but all our social problems, too.Everyone gets a certain amount of sugar, butter, bread and so on, perhaps on a monthly basis, perhaps annually, I don’t know, I’ll have to see how you all behave. Either way, obesity plummets. It falls further with the introduction of the National Hamster Wheel Turbine Draft, which will supply the necessary men and women to power the new-look National Grid.

There won’t be a chicken in every pot but there will be one running around every root-beg-and-bean-growing garden, and a municipal rooster to service each one in turn. No more plastic goods are made, except for important bits of medical equipment such as lifesaving shunts and petri dishes. People carve their own replacement hips, and this keeps them happily occupied while they move up the waiting lists. And of course, instead of the petrol rationing of yore, everyone will receive a certain number of carbon credits, allowing occasional cinema entertainments, emergency car trips and mobile-phone charging. They will not be sufficient to allow the driving of 4x4s or the taking of foreign holidays because, my friends, I will be taking this opportunity to exercise a degree of long-suppressed capriciousness and target unfairly things of which I particularly disapprove…

Ms. Mangan’s column may be tongue-in-cheek. On the one hand, this column is utterly consistent with, and in fact is a natural outgrowth from, the Guardian’s ideology on the global warming issue.On the other hand, another recent Mangan column argued that all celebrities should be “forcibly contracepted” (interesting English, even for a Briton) and banned by law from adopting children. So perhaps she’s not meant to be taken seriously.

Interesting, though, that when one reads a Guardian column on global warming, one has a hard time determining if the paper is joking.

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