Suppose ten fire officers came to see you and nine of them were categorical that you and your children would be burnt to death one night if you didn’t fire proof your house, while the tenth was almost sure but thought the danger might be exaggerated.  How irresponsible would a parent be who then said ‘Oh the fire experts are divided, no need to take any action’.  That is the situation we are in with regard to climate change.  We are that irresponsible parent.  The scientists are now virtually unanimous that at present  rates of carbon emissions we are facing at least four degrees of temperature increase later this century.  We need to quit oil a.s.a.p. urgently and decisively if we are to avoid extreme floods, droughts and hurricanes, whole countries going under water, hundreds of millions without food and water and homeless, especially in South-east Asia and Africa, and quite possibly vicious resource wars that might well go nuclear. Because of its feedback element, once runaway global warming starts four degrees would almost inevitably lead onto six. Many scientists now think that the logic is that in two or three hundred years it could even reach twelve, which would effectively be the end of the human race and most other forms of life.  The responsibility on our shoulders is awesome.  You would have thought that people would have been beside themselves with anxiety about their childrens’ future.  But they are not.  Yet the public are not mad nor irresponsible. Amazingly, in an age when so much information is so readily available, most people do not realise the grave danger that they are in.  The mostly widely read newspapers are not telling them, the politicians are not telling them and the churches are not.  This is not primarily a technological crisis for the technologies we need to solve the problem are already in existence.  It is primarily a moral issue, the greatest by far that humanity has ever faced.  You would have thought the churches would have talked of little else.  But it is not so.  Women bishops, gay marriage,  fish on Friday, anything but climate.  I am especially disappointed in the Green Party.  You would have thought that at least the Green Party would have warned in urgent tones of the immense catastrophe that could well now engulf us.  But the Green Party is full of people who say ‘whatever you do don’t mention the word catastrophe, voters don’t like it’.  Even now, we could still create a much much better post-fossil fuel world if we really set about it.  But where is the leadership we need?  Pope Francis is said to be producing an encyclical about the environment. In despair, I’m pinning my last hopes on him.


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