Comment - Energy and Clamate Change
No Planet B! by Caroline Lucas, speaking in the Energy and Climate Change
debate on 20th December
There has for a number of years been almost universal agreement on the need to keep [global] warming to
no more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. But today [this] faces a double threat.
First, Governments have so far failed to take the action needed to protect their populations from [an
increase of more than 2 degrees]. Writing in the Royal Society's journal earlier this year, a group of
leading climate scientists explained that "the continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the past
decade and the delays in a comprehensive global emissions reduction agreement have made achieving
this target extremely difficult, arguably impossible, raising the likelihood of global temperature
rises of 3 degrees or 4 degrees within this century".
The second threat is that, as the latest science shows, even a 2 degree temperature rise is too much. Indeed,
the evidence now
points to the need to keep global temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees at most. So it is deeply
worrying that, as research released in the run-up to the Durban conference shows that on average
the world is expected to warm by at least 3.5 degrees by 2100. If that is an average, the grim reality is that
some parts of the world are likely to be warming significantly more.
If we continue to fiddle while not only Rome, but the whole planet burns, we will go down in whatever
history can follow us as the species that spent all its time monitoring its own extinction, rather than
taking active steps to avoid it. The Government says that there is no plan B on the economy. That is
debatable, but the fact that there is no planet B is not.
First published in the EGP members newsletter, December 2011