Bleak News from Bali
UK political orthodoxy has two main tenets when it comes to climate change: “yes, we can fix it, if only the Americans/Chinese/this month’s scapegoat do their bit” and “technology will be the answer”. The first of these has been holed below the water by two eminent sources:
1. At the Bali conference, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor David King saying that some climate change is inevitable as we have acted too late.
2. A study has shown that the UK’s Carbon footprint is much bigger and rising faster than the Government has claimed. This is because much of our footprint is from overseas sources providing for our lifestyles which the Government doesn’t count.
Neither of these should be a shock. Almost every national climate change strategy recognises that adaptation (to the effects) is as important as mitigation (stopping the next lot happening). Issues such as flood defences/drainage, health provision and emergency response plans come under the adaptation banner. On the second point, I’ve been banging on about this for a long time – just because we’ve offshored most of our dirty industries and much of our leisure industry, doesn’t mean we can neglect their carbon emissions. I’ve personally made this point to a number of top politicians including David Milliband (when he was Environment Sec), Chris Huhne and John Gummer.
As for technology, we need some immediate step changes in take up to make any difference.