Home » Columns

We should be concerned over the country’s climate policies

We have reached our credit limit. We can bury our heads and ignore the facts no longer. It’s clear our political leaders have no intention of dealing with climate change whatsoever. More to the point, our own government is actively encouraging further exploitation of our planet’s resources that will positively accelerate the damage that is being done as a direct result of human activity.

In Cameron’s “Greenest government ever”, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has already made his position clear, saying: “The fact is I would like to see shale gas exploited all over rural parts of the UK.” To encourage this insane activity, our government offers the fracking companies huge tax breaks to get cracking ASAP! Locally, communities where fracking will take place are in line for sweeteners of upto £100k, and a percentage of resulting revenue.

In response to rising fuel poverty, rather than reigning in profit hungry energy companies, Chancellor George Osborne removes the green energy tariff. His fossil fuel-loving masters keep their profits, and any funding for clean energy goes out of the window.

The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes for some very sober reading and unfortunately confirms what some have known for years. Aggressive economic-related human activity is causing such severe damage to the Earth’s eco-systems that they can no longer sustain us.

Yes, it all sounds very melodramatic; another doom merchant talking rubbish. Well, let me ask three questions:

What possible reward would 70 scientists reap from “making up” or exaggerating evidence in such a report? What could they possibly gain from telling us that eco-systems will be lost and species made extinct? That growing food will become more difficult and expensive, with famine, drought and floods becoming more frequent. Who’s going to profit from such a damning report? Which of them is going home to a fat cat bonus with a smile on their face?

In the interest of balance, I should point out that one scientist, Richard Tol, who is in fact a Professor of Economics at Sussex University with a track record for working with pro business climate deniers, did actually withdraw his name from the report, calling it “dramatic”.

Two, given that two thirds of the problem can be laid at the doorsteps of just 90 companies worldwide and that across the globe an estimated $1bn is spent actively denying climate science evidence, who would lose out if we demanded action? In response to the IPCC report, corporate media has reacted quickly, again with the assistance of our own BBC, to stifle the strength and urgency of the report’s findings.

Finally, since we are now being told that in fact we are such clever creatures that we can simply adapt to the effects of climate change, who do you think is going to pay for these changes?

Trust me on one thing: the cost of living with climate change will be far far higher than the cost of acting to prevent it.

Remember, government money is actually our money, not theirs, and they constantly remind us that we have to live within our means. If we have to constantly keep picking up the tab, where else will cuts be made? How much more public money will be diverted from public services, and how many more of us will be vulnerable?

There’s but one way to make the politicians take notice and act in our best interests: stand up, ask questions, and use your vote.