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.


  1. The introduction of Electric planes should be accelerated. THEY DO EXIST.They are twin engined They can start on short haul journey's. Yes gas guzzling SUV.s should be restricted

  2. 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.

    I thought back in 2006 Al Gore told us we had 10 years to save the planet. We didn't, so I assumed we could now just relax in the knowledge that we're all doomed so it doesn't matter what we do, so we may as well fly hither and yon. Are you saying we have to fret for another 12 years? What about after that when, we still haven't done anything, as we won't, because proposals like 'one return flight per adult every three years' are clearly ridiculous? In 2025 is it going to be declared that we have just 20 years to save the world? Is this a treadmill we can ever get off and just accept our fate?

    1. As with Brexit, the effect will not be like falling off a cliff edge, but more akin to a slow puncture. For the moment, in the UK at any rate, global heating can seem quite welcome, but it is already causing havoc in other areas,

  3. If we don't stop Brexit, the damage it will do to the economy will leave us unable to invest in what is needed to stop climate change. To denigrate opposition to it by calling it 'navel-gazing' shows lack of understanding of the importance of stopping Brexit.

    You should really be attacking this: https://www.ecowatch.com/google-camp-climate-crisis-2639622926.html instead of those of us who think that stopping Brexit matters.

    1. Laurence Cox: I've tried your link but it says "404, this is not the page you are looking for." However, I do assure you that I take Brexit very seriously, help staff street stalls and write to the papers, my MP and in this blog to try and stop it. I agree that we shall be less able to tackle the climate crisis outside the EU rather than in it, and if we do leave the EU the neo-liberals who hope to take over our country are almost certain to put short-term profit before the preservation of the planet.

      I have used the term "navel-gazing" because for the past three years, Brexit has occupied almost our entire political energy, and crowded out discussion of key issue such as global heating (top of the list) along with unnecessary poverty, growing inequality, homelessness, the sale of our national assets to other economies, the throttling of local government...to name but some.