Skip to main content

Is the UK serious about climate change?

The bells toll louder now, but will we listen and act?  The UK is hosting the climate summit, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, at the end of October. No doubt it will set new targets or reiterate old ones, but more is needed.  Politicians need to face reality. 

We need to set new goals for our economy and the way we live. It will require the most massive investment, probably bigger than the bail-out of the banking system.  If we can bail out the banks, we can save the environment from a cataclysmic global crisis. But governments need to be honest with their citizens.  Trading emissions is no longer an option.  It simply allows the wealthy and rich countries to park their responsibility onto the shoulders of others. 

No doubt, the UK will boast about approaching its targets in reducing carbon emissions.  Sadly this is all a sleight of hand.  The UK has, in large part, achieved that by exporting its carbon emissions.  If the UK is serious about its carbon footprint, it will legislate to reduce this invisible trade-related impact.  That is the hardest of the political tasks.  It requires a significant restructuring of our economy and no doubt increased prices for our food and so many raw materials.   But unless the UK does act on this, it cannot claim any high ground on tackling climate change. 

COP26 is perhaps the last opportunity for us to avoid disasters and to impact climate change.  It requires bold action.  Let us hope our politicians do more than pay lip service to it.  If you hear them boasting about what they are already doing, you will know they are missing the mark.  If they say we have not done nearly enough and take drastic action, then there is hope.  

What we know is that free trade deals that encourage destructive global trade will destroy our planet.  Anything short of a significant restructuring of our production and trade will fail to halt the tragedy of adverse man-made climate change. 

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

About the writer: Ray Noble is a Chartered Biologist. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement