Nations that show foresight on climate change will reap the rewards – Andy Brown

Unfortunately, the idea of ​​keeping warm by burning relics of the past has come back to haunt us. Our civilization depends on fossilized technology in every sense of the word. We burn fossils created millions of years ago. When these fossils were deposited, they sucked a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere and cooled the climate. Humanity has reversed this effect with increasing speed since the industrial revolution.

Some of the consequences of an increasingly chaotic climate have already become evident in Yorkshire. There were repeated floods along the Calder Valley, huge problems on the lower Don and the Tadcaster Bridge was washed away. Strong winds and floods alternate with long periods of drought and fires. Warmer and more extreme weather is happening just as scientists predicted. Only much earlier.

It’s bad enough, but there are other corrosive effects of fossil fuel addiction. Success in business usually depends on a lot of hard work and considerable foresight. In contrast, making money from fossil fuels depends on who controls the land and the license.

Part of the Tadcaster Bridge was washed away in the 2015 floods. PIC: James Hardisty.

Much of the world’s fossil fuel supply comes from deeply unpleasant diets. Vladimir Putin is not only responsible for the brutal war in Ukraine. He leads a regime that kills opponents and rewards loyalists. Those who obey his orders are able to extract money from inefficient oil and gas wells that leak methane, from gold mines that poison the ground with arsenic or from wood from the immense Siberian forest with very slow growth. The impact of the loss of trees in Russia is just as significant globally as what is happening in the Amazon.

Saudi Arabia routinely executes people, including those whose only crime is to criticize the regime, and it has funneled huge sums of money to schools that teach an extreme and distorted version of Islam around the world. entire.

Once oil and gas have been sucked out of the ground, what happens to them next also has a corrosive impact on society. Companies that control the movement of this oil from source to use make a lot of money.

Shell recently made £7billion in three months but paid no ‘windfall’ tax. BP also won just over £7bn but paid $800,000. Consumers, who have paid exorbitant prices, are entitled to wonder how it is possible to earn so much without passing on prices higher than those paid.

Some of the big profits made by oil and gas companies over the years have ended up pushing for political influence. For many years this lobbying was used to deny that there was a big problem with doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. More recently, it has been devoted to the argument that if action is necessary, it can be relatively slow.

In reality, action has become more than urgent. Yet the current global plan is that world leaders will allow things to continue to get worse for another 28 years. This is how long they plan to keep increasing the CO2 level. They are late on delivering this plan.

In other words, the climate problems we are already seeing are a very early indicator of problems that will continue to worsen for nearly three decades. At this point, we could stop pumping additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. No one knows when or how we might remove it.

None of the climate models that have been produced predicted that Britain would start to exceed 40 degrees heat this early in the process. None of them expected a temperature of 30 degrees to be recorded in Britain in February. Most models underestimate the magnitude of forest loss in the Amazon and Siberia and do not fully account for the magnitude of frozen methane release that is already occurring in the Arctic. All serious scientific doubts are about whether the models are overly conservative.

Fortunately, the world has already developed most of the technologies we need to run our society sustainably, and new technologies are coming at real speed. Countries that are at the forefront of adopting these technologies will likely be rewarded for their foresight by having the most prosperous economies. Economic success usually goes to nations that recognize a need for change and act early, while those that cling to old ways seldom prosper.

While backward nations like Putin’s Russia stubbornly cling to their fossilized ways, Britain needs to focus on making smart investments to modernize its economy. The sooner we create a low-carbon economy, the sooner we will equip our businesses with lower running costs and our employees with lower bills.

Andy Brown is the North Yorkshire County Councilor for Aire Valley, representing the Green Party.

Teresa H. Sadler