Wednesday, 2 April 2014
From the Guardian - UN science panel's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, says report on impacts of rising temperatures should push leaders to act.
"The head of the United Nations climate panel said he hoped its report on the rising threat of climate change would “jolt people into action”.
The report, released on Monday, is a 2,600-page catalogue of the risks to life and livelihood from climate change – now and in the future.
Rajendra Pachauri, who has headed the IPCC for 12 years, said he hoped it would push government leaders to deal with climate change before it is too late.
“I hope these facts will - for want of a better word - jolt people into action,” he said.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, took a similar line.
“Read this report and you can't deny the reality: Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy,” Kerry said in a statement. "Let's make our political system wake up and let's make the world respond."
A recent YouGov poll in the UK, on the subject of worldwide climate change, showed:
57% believe it is changing as a result of human activity
27% believe it is changing but NOT because of humans
7% believe it is NOT changing
9% were not sure
also in response to the question:
Do you think that you personally will feel the effects of climate change in your lifetime, or not?
Yes, I will . . .. 62%
No, I will not. . 22%
Not sure . . . ... 16%
Whereas much of the damage caused has been by previous generations freely burning fossil fuels to create energy – those generations did not know the damage they were doing. However, the current generation does know the harm that is being inflicted on the planet through this practice and so are in the unique situation of being able to choose whether to act to help save future generations from the dire consequences – or not.
No doubt most of the individuals who do believe that mankind is responsible for climate change make every effort to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’. However, any significant changes have to be created by government policy and the Coalition, led by the Tories, are most reluctant to confront the issue. They know that any serious attempt must hamper their vision of a future where giant multinationals invest in the UK to provide low paid jobs and who provide goods and services to a market consisting of the EU and North America.
Clearly, until clean energy can replace the burning of fossil fuels – any expansion or enlarging of markets is directly in conflict with attempts to reduce carbon emissions for it increases the need for energy to transport goods across the EU or the Atlantic. The same conflict applies to the free global market that has created such riches for the executives and major share holders of the multinationals.
Until the technology that can produce clean energy, which avoids burning fossil fuels, has been developed – markets should be reduced in size rather than increased – so that goods are produced as close to their point of use as possible. Unfortunately, the petroleum corporations are extremely profitable and represent a hugely powerful lobby on governments – they clearly are not keen on the development of clean energy – since it would eventually put them out of business. So a stalemate has been reached.
Chris Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, made it clear during the worst of the flooding on the Somerset Levels that his agency is following an EU strategy which allows for previously claimed land to be sacrificed to the sea – because of the high maintenance cost. This may make sense for the EU as a whole. However, since the UK can barely feed half of its rapidly expanding population and that climate change is bound to steadily reduce global food production – the cost of importing food is certain to rise relentlessly.
Out of the EU and free of their endless directives and regulations, small business could be encouraged to produce the goods required locally – thereby relying less on the multinationals and the free global market. An independent UK could halt the rapid rise in the population through, once again, being able to control its borders. We would also be likely to ensure that our flood defenses were secure so that essential farm land was not lost to the sea.