Do Governments have their priorities right when it comes to fossil fuels and climate change?

by | 6 January 2020 | Notice, Sherwood

The latest New Climate Economy Report stated: “The world is already experiencing the impacts of rapid and unequivocal global warming: coral reef decline, sea level rise, Arctic sea ice loss, biodiversity loss, declining crop yields, more frequent heat waves and heavy rainfall.”

The UN summit in September 2019 was designed to accelerate countries’ ambition to address the climate crisis amid increasingly urgent warnings by scientists. But even though the climate change issue has been recognised for years, nothing has changed. Greta Thunberg predicted the latest summit would not deliver any new plans in line with the radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are needed to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. She went on to say: “Governments have betrayed young people. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.” The 2019 Convention on Climate Change took place in December in Milan. However, the heads of state did not feel it was important enough to attend and they attended the NATO summit on defence in Watford.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°c is not impossible but it would require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society. The next 10 years are critical as we have already reached some of the predicted outcomes and tipping points. Personal sacrifice alone will not be the solution to tackling the climate crisis. There’s no other area in which the individual is held so responsible for what’s going wrong. It’s true: people drive too much, eat too much meat, and fly too often. But reaching zero emissions requires very fundamental changes. Individual sacrifice alone will not achieve the results needed. It can only be achieved by real structural change; by a new industrial revolution.

Yet what are we doing? Our government declared a moratorium on fracking, however the Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom calls the UK fracking ban ‘disappointing’ and insists it is only temporary until new technology reduces earthquake risk. The UK’s definition of fracking still has the potential to allow flouting of the rules by simply reducing the amount of fluid or resorting to other methods of extraction, such as using acid stimulation or acidisation. The present Government is very pro-fracking. INEOS is the biggest fracking licence holder, and the owner has said he is continuing with his plans to frack the UK.

Our goal must be to leave fossil fuels in the ground, to limit the use of fossil fuels such as oil, carbon and natural gas, replacing them with renewable cleaner sources of energy, and increasing energy efficiency. We must ban fracking and we have to change how industries are run or subsidised. These are not things that we as individuals can change. We need Governments to change their priorities, create appropriate legislation and start the new revolution.
If you are interested in joining our campaign we meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm in Suite 2 Old Station, High Street, Edwinstowe NG21 9HS. See also our Facebook page — Frack Free Sherwood Forest and Edwinstowe.
Pauline Meechan
Frack Free Sherwood Forest and Edwinstowe