Tuesday, 27 August 2019
Global heating - action this day
In the past ten months a combination of Extinction Relbellion and the audacity of Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg have done us a favour: forcing us to interrupt our parochial navel gazing over Brexit and lift our eyes to the real crisis, the climate crisis, which will affect not just our own back yard but the entire planet unless we take action pretty sharpish.
We have just twelve years to reduce our polluting emissions by 45% and thus keep the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and thus preserve a sustainable lifestyle for all of us on the planet.
Some believe that even that won't be enough.
I have just bought and read the Extinction Rebellion handbook which they call " This is not a drill." It is a frightening read and can be bought for £7.99 here (even less if you abandon your scruples and go to Amazon).
On page 11 they set out their three key demands:
1. The government must tell the truth;
2. The government must act now . . .to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
3 The government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens' Assembly on climate change and ecological justice.
Given that governments and parliaments in all the western democracies have ignored the warnings of scientists, or even denied their validity, for decades, they advocate a "civil resistance model":
1. You don't need millions, just about 50 000 activists (presumably in each country).
2. You need to go to the capital city.
3. You have to break the law.
4. It has to stay non-violent.
5. It has to go on day by day.
6. It has to be fun.
For a start, please buy and read the book, and get fired up.
Certain political decisions spring to my mind as immediately obvious:
1. There is no case for expanding our airport capacity: rather it should be reduced
2. The right to fly should be rationed: maybe one return flight per adult every three years. Coupons (remember those?) could be traded so that those who can't afford to fly anyway, or don't want to, can profit from those who insist on playing their part in destroying the planet.
3. There is no case for fracking: it must be stopped tomorrow, even if the earthquakes so far have been only minor.
4. Fossil fuel based energy production should be reduced as quickly as possible.
5. New railway provision should be medium speed rather than high speed,
6. Gas guzzling 4x4s and SUV should be permitted only to people such as farmers who can prove they need them.
7. Fuel duty should be increased by a significant amount each year.
8. There should be massive investment in renewable energy production, especially, in Briatain, tidal and wave power.
9. We should stop wasting electricity on frivolous lighting, as at Christmas.
10. Aid should be given to poorer countries to help them achieve a decent but non-polluting standard of living.
That will do from me for the moment. Further suggestions welcomed.