Richard Price argues politicians are criminally negligent in ignoring climate change.

Doom is coming to the world. No, I don’t think that’s too strong. I sincerely worry for the future generations and want to figure out why no one seems willing or able to achieve the urgent change that’s necessary.

Scientists agree that we are heading for a world that is four degrees warmer – possibly by 2050 – just 31 years away. The science is constantly moving but unfortunately the timescale seems to move forward rather than further back into the future. 

How will it affect us? Scientists who tend to be conservative in their language are using a specific word to describe a world that will be four degrees warmer: catastrophic!  If we don’t radically change things, the result will be a catastrophe for both human society and ecosystems. Life in the tropics will become next to impossible. The new world temperature will result in heat waves of a magnitude never seen before. Extinctions with forty per cent of animals and plants at risk and huge drops in food yields, particularly in the USA, Africa and Australia are also predicted.

Recently I wrote to our MP Amber Rudd to ascertain whether she intends to do anything about this impending cataclysm. My letter has been ignored. I was rather hoping she would ask her brother Roland  – founder and chairman of public relations firm Finsbury – perhaps over lunch one Sunday, who his clients are and whether they include oil companies. Governments are supposed to protect their citizens from danger and provide a check on the influence of corporate power. Given the scientific evidence, it seems that the UK government should be concerned enough to declare an emergency. Not to do so or take immediate action is just plain negligent.

However, if we do take action we could ameliorate the worst effects. Graham Marshall, author of Don’t Even Think About It (why our brains are wired to ignore climate change), describes “some personal and highly biased ideas for digging our way out of this hole.” He suggests that Rewilding  – restoring past losses and protecting core wilderness areas  – would be a start. 

So a current petition to parliament to restore nature on a massive scale to help stop climate breakdown could succeed. It has more than 80,000 signatures and aims to reach 100,000. The first paragraph says: “To avoid a climate emergency we need to act fast. Rewilding and other natural climate solutions can draw millions of tonnes of CO2 out of the air through restoring and protecting our living systems. We call on the UK government to make a bold financial and political commitment to nature’s recovery.”

Graham Marshall says, “we do not accept climate change because we wish to avoid the anxiety it generates and the deep changes that it requires. In this regard, it is not unlike any other major threat. However, because it carries none of the clear markers that would normally lead our brains to overrule our short-term interests, we actively conspire with each other, and mobilise our own biases to keep it perpetually in the background.” I think that this is true of governments, businesses and even the majority of citizens of each and every country. 


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