Comment - Energy and Climate Change
The end of optimism by David Flint
The end of 2012 marks the point at which sensible commentators on
climate change began to say openly that we WILL experience
catastrophic climate change.
For 20 years we Greens have read the signs. We have cried the
warnings. We have promoted cycling and recycling. We have made
plans for zero carbon power systems and argued for climate justice.
We have canvassed and campaigned.
We have hoped - against our own growing fears - that the world's
leaders would recognize the urgency of the problem and take
And we have failed.
report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers calculates
that we will only keep the rise in global temperature below two
degrees if we reduce carbon intensity (ie CO2 emissions per £1
million of GNP) by 5.1% pa for forty years. In the last decade the
rate of reduction has averaged 0.8% and we have never come close
to 5%. My own
2010 analysis of the politics
showed that an effective successor to Kyoto could not come
into effect until 2021 - about 6 years after the likely tipping point.
The PwC report implies that we are on course for six degrees of
warming - a change that would make much of the tropics
uninhabitable, slash world food production and create many
billions of refugees.
As Greens we claim to respect the science. This now tells us that we
must either adopt RADICALLY new climate policies, geo-engineering for instance,
or seek only to slow the climate
transformation that is now inevitable.
First published in the EGP members newsletter, February 2013
Published and promoted
by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13