[EXTRACTS OF THIS ARTICLE WERE PUBLISHED IN THE CEREDIGION HERALD, Jul 2016]
The UK government needs to realise that just removing the words ‘climate change’ from their departmental organisation will not make the problem go away. We are seeing the impact of climate change now. Coastal communities are being left to rising seas, and inland flooding is impacting communities all over the UK, time and time again.
Just last week, the UK’s own Committee on Climate Change published its Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Evidence Report. It stated that in five out of six key areas, ‘New, stronger or different government policies or implementation activities – over and above those already planned – are needed.’ Two of the six key areas – flooding and risk to health – are reported to already be ‘high risk’. This is not news. It has been shouted loud and clear from the scientific community for decades.
Our government’s response? Roll the ‘energy’ in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) into the new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS); do away with the ‘climate change’ aspect all together; and announce a new environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, who has consistently voted against any climate legislation and is a fan of ‘reducing burdensome red tape.’
This signal is clear, not just to me, but across the world. A few days ago the United Nations climate change envoy singled out the UK for subsidising the fossil fuel industry, saying we had lost our position as a ‘climate leader.’ When crucial climate legislation comes up against big business, the push for profit will likely conquer all. Short-term gain for a few (I can assure you we will certainly not all feel the benefit of those profits!), is very concretely put front and foremost whilst the health, safety and wellbeing of the rest of us, and of our children is quietly pushed to one side. Deleted.
We must not stand aside and let this happen. If our unelected representatives won’t put climate change on the agenda, we will have to do it for them.