European environmentalists' insanely stupid plan to decrease shipping pollution

Environmentalism, as much as anything, represents semi-educated man's yearning to return to a less complicated past, one in which man was dependent upon nature's vagaries rather than master of them.  Maybe that explains why European environmentalists have decided that the way to reduce carbon emissions from shipping is to use "giant kites" — or, as humans called them for thousands of years, "sails."  This is not a joke.  It's absolutely real and highlights just how ludicrous the modern left has become.

There is nothing in the world more charming than a movie or TV series based upon Jane Austen's books.  Ang Lee's 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility is so beautifully photographed that every scene makes one want to dive into the screen and share that world.  The same is true for the six-part 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice.  Could anything be more lovely than that world of polite people in lovely costumes living in exquisite houses with respectful servants, all located within a fresh, green landscape?

What none of these shows quite captures is the reality of life in those days.  City streets were ankle-deep in fecal matter and urine from both animals and people.  Fifty percent of all children died before the age of five from childhood diseases.  This was paired with the fact that up to 50% of all women died in childbirth.  Even the smallest cut or bug bite, if it got infected, killed — assuming that physicians didn't first kill the patients with bleeding, mercury treatments, or any other of the murderous potions that doctors favored.

Water was mostly unpalatable, so everyone drank alcohol, from small beers to port to gin.  Some have posited that the reason behind some very bad decisions in the pre-modern era was that all the people making the decisions were drunk.  Coffee and tea, both made with boiled water, saved the day and may have powered the Industrial Revolution.

Travel was laborious.  For many, journeys were only as fast as their feet would carry them and were dogged by injuries, diseases, and lodging with shared beds filled with strangers, fleas, and bedbugs.  The alternative was un-sprung coaches over rutted roads filled with highwaymen.  The twenty-mile trip that takes us 30 minutes took them a day of hard travel.

Water was a faster way to travel.  When it came to Charleston, the richest city in colonial America, journeys in the region that took six or seven hours by horseback or coach were only an hour by river, if the tide was flowing in the right direction.  The region did have its problems — alligators, copperheads, malaria, yellow fever, smallpox, hostile Native Americans, etc. — but the river got you there and back.

Image: "Lord Asburton" driven by a gale by Joseph Heard.  Public domain.

Cross-ocean travel was slow and dangerous.  The great sailing ships, if they caught the gulf stream, could take as few as 27 days carrying passengers from England to Charleston.  However, storms (often deadly) and ocean currents could extend the journey up to six or eight weeks.  Even for the rich, the journey was unpleasant, for the cabins were tiny, filthy, and foul-smelling, and the food onboard quickly rotted but had to be eaten anyway.

For most people with even a tiny bit of money, absent the energy from fossil fuels, slaves, serfs, or terribly impoverished people were the way to get things done.

Pre-modern life looks good only in the rearview mirror.  We are indescribably lucky with our indoor plumbing, appliances, A/C, antibiotics, planes, trains, automobiles, and fossil-fuel–powered ships — but environmentalists in Europe don't want fossil-fuel–powered ships.  For them, CO2, the ultimate plant food flood, is evil, so they've come up with a "new" idea: sailing ships.

Add ships being dragged along by giant kites to the list of things the industry is exploring in its quest to decarbonize.

At the start of next year, the Ville de Bordeaux, a 154-meter-long ship that moves aircraft components for Airbus SE, will unfurl a 500 square meter kite on journeys across the Atlantic Ocean. It will undergo six months of trials and tests before full deployment.

While the industry has come up with multiple decarbonization initiatives, it is struggling to keep pace with goals set out under the Paris Agreement on climate. There's also pressure on shipping lines from large customers who are pressing to make their own supply chains less polluting.

We live in an incredibly stupid era.  We are blessed to be removed from the travails of the pre-modern era, but those who control our institutions are dragging us back to a time of tremendous human pain and suffering.  Instead of focusing on efficiently and cleanly using the miracle of fossil fuel, they imagine us living in a "Jane Austen via Hollywood" world.

What's really going to happen, though, is we'll re-discover the world as defined by Hobbes, one in which life was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. "  The COVID years are just the warm-up for what's to come unless we stop the leftists and their insanity.

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