Unfortunately the climate conference in Paris has, if anything, made the situation worse rather than better.   It has engendered an atmosphere of complacency and self-congratulation, and vague well-wishing rather than firm and immediate binding commitments, which is the very last thing we need.  All countries were invited before the conference to submit their plans far averting catastrophic climate change.  Most did so. The scientists analysed these proposals and concluded that even if all countries kept their promises, and surely they will not, we would still be facing a catastrophic almost three degrees of warming.  China says it has no intention of reducing its emissions until they peak in 2030.  But by then the world will have used up over two thirds of its remaining carbon budget and we would have to go from burning 40 gigatonnes of carbon a year to zero in fourteen years, which will clearly be impossible.  Our only hope is to start a vigorous and resolute programme to exit fossil fuels a.s.a.p. now.  But the politicians, who came back from Paris so full of panglossian optimism, clearly have no intention of taking the extremely difficult and, they fear, unpopular measures that will have to be taken. The present UK Government has reneged on an undertaking to invest £1bn in carbon capture in coalmines,  reduced subsidies on renewables and increased those for fossil fuels only in the last few weeks.

The scientists are now virtually unanimous.  If we don’t deal with this, we, and even more our unfortunate children, will face a situation terrible beyond imagining.  This isn’t science fiction or some kind of marginal crackpot fantasy.  It is what the scientists are now almost unananimously saying.  There will be extremely severe and frequent floods, droughts and hurricanes, whole countries going under water, hundreds of millions of  homeless migrants without food and water (hundreds of millions they say – the mind dizzies), and it is not hard to imagine vicious resource wars that might well go nuclear.  We must hope that the sceptics are right. But most of us are not climate scientists.  Practically, how can it make any sense but to follow the advice we are being given and go all out to get rid of fossil fuels a.s.a.p.? But to do this would mean taking really radical measures to change our way of life.  The politicians clearly have no intention of doing so.  Climate was hardly mentioned in the 2015 general election. Mr Cameron’s message to the Conservative Party on New Year’s Day did not even mention climate as a policy issue. The politicians are failing us, not just the  Conservatives but all of them, even the Green Party.  So what can we do?



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