By Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth Regional South East Campaigner
Flooding in Stonehaven: Photo courtesy The Guardian
I’ve been watching Is our Weather Getting Worse? Have you? It’s about how we have seen increased extreme weather events in recent years. It showed scenes from Hurricane Sandy in America and the severe floods all around England in November which really brought home to me how climate change is happening right now. I remember Friends of the Earth saying it was happening back in the 1990’s and the sceptics denying it is partly because of the phrase “Global Warming” which made people think we were going to get a lot more sunshine. But the programme showed evidence from the Antarctic and spoke to scientists who made it clear that these events are part of a pattern around the world linked to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
So we were right to be worried. But here’s the thing: even with the Climate Change Act and government policies and statements acknowledging the problem, recent international negotiations in Doha and the Draft Energy Bill in the UK show there is still a long way to go to agree on the best way forward. The problem is, we don’t have long. And that’s the critical thing to clock. We have to really clean up our power system and keep emissions at a very low level. But with a Coalition Government we seem to be getting the lowest common denominator politics. Meanwhile, I still come across people who believe climate change isn’t happening, or if it is that humans aren’t responsible, or if they are it’s not worth doing anything because other countries are worse than us.
I think actually most people do realise it is a huge problem. But with vocal climate deniers such as Lord Lawson backed by big wallets and getting airtime it’s no wonder some people get confused. So in the 21st century what can we do about it? Friends of the Earth is lobbying decision makers to get more action happening.