How can I persuade the Green Party that the policy in the recent election of presenting itself primarily as a user-friendly alternative to the Labour Party, instead of the pain in the neck party of the environment that it ought to be, was grievously, indeed terribly and tragically, wrong. In 2012 the scientists calculated we could safely burn another 565 gigatonnes of carbon (less now of course). At present rate of annual global emissions, about 30 Gt a year, that gives us about twenty years to save ourselves, and even more our unfortunate children, from the horrendous future of which the scientists are so direly warning us. Even on the most optimistic scenario the earliest the planet could achieve zero carbon emissions would be 2050. But to do that we would have to make serious and steady inroads into that 30 Gt rate starting now. Instead global emissions are increasing. Shell have been given permission to drill in the Artic. The Australian Government is proposing to allow 27 billion tonnes of coal to be mined in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. Even in the home counties our own government wants to start drilling for oil. At present rates of progress we don’t have a hope of staying under 2 degrees of increased temperature and thus exposing ourselves to serious danger of triggering runaway global warming.
In theory we do, and politicians will point to international carbon agreements and say they are fulfilling what the scientists demand (not perfect but a step in the right direction, they will say after Paris in December). But this is largely rubbish. On the one hand our own government says it’s fulfilling its obligations but on the other is backing fracked gas, the worst of all greenhouse gases because of the methane emissions, for all it is worth, cutting down on green levies, and above all exporting our emissions to China. The oil companies already have at least 3000 gigatonnes of proven oil reserves, enough to cook the planet five times over. To leave all that oil in the ground would be such a financial disaster, can we imagine the world is going to easily roll over and do it? The tabloids have fought, in journalistic terms, a brilliant campaign of disinformation and disparagement to ensure nothing serious is done about climate and will continue to do so. Those in whose interest it is to keep pumping out emissions as fast as they can go, will mislead the public with extreme skill and intelligence. They won’t say any more that global warming is nonsense, because the evidence is now so overwhelming. They will say that they too are contributing to fighting it, in fact leading the fight. China says it will have its emissions under control by 2030. The CEO of Shell said only yesterday that Shell takes climate change extremely seriously, and plans to take part in reducing global emissions to zero by the end of the century, by which time he looks forward to Shell operating entirely in renewables. Only the extremely well informed will realise that this is shorthand for not doing anything serious now. The end of the century will be far, far too late – almost laughably so if it weren’t so tragic.
The only hope we have of avoiding climate catastrophe is if someone can persuade the public that we have to go all out, straining every nerves and muscle, to get rid of oil a.s.a.p. If the public were absolutely determined to get rid of oil, capitalism would stop supplying oil and start supplying renewables. It is political persuasion that matters. But if only the Green Party would wake up it can still be done. People are not stupid nor are they uncaring about the future of their children. But they are misled and misinformed. Nor is it all doom and gloom. What could be more inspiring and enthralling than saving our beautiful earth for our children? People have to be moved in their hearts as well as persuaded in their heads. We can do this but we have to do it. We have to say to people ‘The evidence is now indisputable. This is what is going to happen to your children if you don’t make drastic changes in your attitudes and behaviour, it’s your choice’. But the Green Party, the only party that could do it, won’t do it. I feel so disappointed and disillusioned. “Vote for what you believe in” made me feel, when I think of the horrendous future we could be facing, almost physically sick. Nevertheless I want to stay in the Green Party because, feeble and timid as it is, it is our only hope. Twenty years! Come on Green Party. Wake up! This is our moment! We can do this.