Keynsham Voice November column: Fiddling while Rome burns

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report published in October had a stark and urgent warning: we only have 12 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The IPCC lists a catalogue of (quite literally) disasters if we hit 2C warming: droughts, floods, heatwaves, mega-storms, destruction of coral reefs, melting ice caps. These events will collectively kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, many of them right here in the UK.

These are bare facts, despite persistent attempts by climate change deniers to sow seeds of doubt. The IPCC report took three years to write and research. It was authored by 86 world-leading climate scientists from 39 countries, all unpaid for their contributions. It was reviewed, commented on and agreed by scientists and governments from 40 countries, including the UK.

It concludes that we’re on track to reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 if temperatures increase at the current rate (and it’s a big ‘if’). In reality, rather than keeping to the 2C target set at the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the report concludes that we’re heading towards a 3C increase. Once we hit 2C, the world will be a very different place.

This month, I was going to write about what individuals can do to mitigate climate change. But I’m sick of taking responsibility for the mess the world finds itself in. I’m tired of waiting for our government to take the action needed to reduce our carbon emissions. I’m frustrated that merely a week after the IPCC report was published, fracking restarted in Lancashire.

Where are the politicians leading from the front to avoid thousands of unnecessary deaths right here in the UK? I don’t see them. So, if you do one thing this month, I urge you to contact your elected member and tell them to start being bigger and bolder in the fight against climate change before it’s too late.

Published in Keynsham Voice, November 2018,

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