In many ways there was little new in the IPCC climate change report however, what was pleasing was the clarity with which it portrayed the problems associated with climate change and what is required to prevent them getting worse. Notably the headline that we have 12 years to fix this mess and reduce global emissions 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. That and the fact it has brought the issue to the world’s attention. Saying that it hasn’t led to the drastic changes required when this has happened previously. What is less pleasing is governments and policy maker’s apathy and ineptitude towards the issues at hand.
What is really awful is that no nation is doing anywhere near enough to prevent a 1.5 degree rise in temperature. Nowhere near! Even if the UK government claims to be a “world leader” in cutting carbon emissions (debatable), that measurement is only taken against others who are also failing, not the 1.5 degree benchmark that needs to be met.
There is a copious amount of evidence highlighting the impacts of climate change and that its severity is largely due to human influence. Certainly there is no doubt that the Earth has warmed markedly in the homogenoscene epoch. Yet despite this overwhelming evidence base, the more frequent natural disasters and the publishing of this report alongside numerous others, governments still don’t seem to get it. Or simply choose to ignore it. Within two days of it being published UK ministers missed a key summit on climate change, expressed a desire to loosen regulations on fracking and it was only on the front page of two of our newspapers. In addition, Australia announced their commitment to back coal and well, the US ignored it completely (shock).
What does it say about the people in charge? Well it is hard to see those in charge as anything other than greedy, power hungry, corrupt and gutless lacking in any morals, focused on a short term vision and not wanting to upset the status quo. Even worse, many seem to want to put party politics before anything else. Bluntly, they need to step out of their box, stand up and be counted and lead at least an attempt to tackle these key issues even if they believe it could be to the detriment of their power in the short term. What they can’t do is carry on as they are, putting off decisions while they investigate something that has been researched a million times, try to figure out the colossal muck up that is Brexit or wait for an election to pass.
Yes, it will require a financial investment but it is an investment with incredible returns which can’t just be thought of as financial but also an investment in the living planet that supports us, people’s health and well-being, alongside huge social benefits and many more.
A potential positive from all of this, if we start taking climate change seriously is that the joined up, system- thinking required to combat it will also help solve many other global problems. Indeed just tackling climate change with have numerous benefits including reducing poverty, reducing famine, improving human rights, improving education, empowering women, increasing biodiversity, improving energy security, improving mental and physical health etc, the list goes on.
Climate change is a great leveller. It is not a problem for which we can rely on a small few to combat it. It requires everyone and as such, it can prevent an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and bring greater equality and opportunity. While it requires everyone to participate, it does also require global leadership with all nations on board. Hopefully they can sort it out and commit to preventing a 1.5 degree temperature increase and act upon it before it is too late. Enough messing around, get on with it. Mini rant over, but only because I could go on forever!
Please write to your MP to push for revolutionary action on climate change…every voice counts. Find your MP here.