Sunday, September 09, 2007

Too late to save the planet

The BBC can be criticised for the way it justified abandoning Planet Relief, but the truth is that a television spectacular would have achieved nothing. Yes, many people would have made pledges and yes, some may have sent money, but most of us have excellent reasons for making long-haul flights, driving large cars and constantly consuming. In any case we cannot stop climate change. Even if all nations fulfilled their Kyoto targets the best we could hope for would be slowing it down, but with the US refusing to sign and the UK and the rest falling short even this will not be achieved.

British government action on climate is largely lip-service and superficial. They continue to build roads, support airport expansion and subsidise wind farms – the most ineffective form of renewable energy. The implication of their policies is that fossil fuels are limitless; they ignore the carbon consequences of burning all these fuels. They dare not tax energy, cut petrol use though road pricing or restrict air travel. There lies electoral suicide. That leaves action up to us.

Concern for climate change must not blind us to the threats of pollution, resource depletion and particularly energy shortages. It makes sense to address all of these by reducing, re-using and recycling as environmentalists recommend. This won’t save the planet but it may help us cope with the dire conditions we can expect as the oil and everything else starts to run out.

Let’s face up to the consequences of climate change rather than pretending that a TV show or anything else we do will stop it happening.

No comments: