There’s science and there’s prejudice. This came clear this week in the controversial area of climate change and global warming. More and more people in the country don’t believe that the world climate is changing yet scientists issued their starkest warning that global warming was happening and posed a real danger to the planet.
The number of voters that thought the world’s climate was changing in 2005 only 4 per cent didn’t think that the climate was changing but now that figure has increased to 19 per cent.
Yet on Monday scientists were telling political leaders that the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have now led to a warming of the entire globe, including land surfaces, oceans and the atmosphere.
Heat waves and storms and other extreme weather events are apparently on the up and the ice sheets are dwindling at an alarming rate. This causes sea levels to rise and the oceans acidified threatening the planet’s coral reefs.
The rise in temperature of more than two degrees which is on the cards will release the greenhouse gas methane from the Russian tundra and the polar ice caps will vanish so there will be no means of reflecting back solar radiation. All of which could cause a planet that would be inhabitable for millions of its inhabitants.
So there we have it scientists saying that the planet is in real danger and the public increasingly not believing them. Why?
Well, the vested interest of the well heeled fossil fuels industry in denying the argument. Through their extensive lobbying activities they’ve got enough politicians and the media on their side to confuse the public about the science.
But politicians have a duty to respond with substantial policies to move the country away from its dependency on fossil fuels. Green policies should be more than a photo opportunity to ride a sledge in the Arctic. They should be meaningful and effective.
Freezing fuel prices is one thing but what next. To drive fuel prices down in the long term there needs to be a green energy revolution. Homes need to be made energy efficient and a massive drive needs to take place on renewable energy sources.
Politicians have also face up to those that oppose every development that is green. Those that campaign against wind power or against other innovative energy projects should not be given succor by politicians cynically chasing votes.
Global warming requires a fresh push up the political agenda. Too little has been heard about the issue at the political conferences. This needs to change.
Short-term political expediency is no longer acceptable. Humanity has emitted about half a trillion tonnes of carbon by burning fossil fuels over the past 250 years, a process that has caused atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise by 40%. The world is now on target to release another half trillion tonnes in the next few decades which could trigger a major jump in global temperatures. The very survival of out planet is at stake. The only defence is collective action marshaled by politics. Our very survival depends on politicians rising to the challenge.