There are 130 members of the House of representatives in America who do not believe that climate change is occurring.
While a similar number is hard to find in the UK, there are a significant number of prominent MPs who also deny climate change is taking place. Well-known MPs include Nigel Lawson, and Graham Stringer elected to the science and technology committee in the House of Commons ( this appointment is odd as there are many scientists among the Labour MPs so to appoint one one who denies one of the most important issues facing the planet seems strange).
Given the overwhelming evidence that global warming is occurring, surely with the election this week in the UK and the election next year in the USA, it is time to make climate change denial and election to office incompatible.
When we vote for a representative in our country’s place of power, we are sending someone who will be given large amounts of information with the desire that if they make sensible decisions on what they read. Why therefore would anyone choose to send a representative who has has been presented with vast amounts of data on climate change and has decided that it is false?
Climate change denial gets a lot of noise in the press, however the evidence that the planet is warming, and that this is as a result of the large amounts of carbon dioxide we are adding to the environment, is incontrovertible.
We often see the figure 97% of climate scientists believe that the Earth is warming. This is out of date. A study just a couple of years ago looked at 10,000 papers published over the previous few years, only one of these did not agree that humans cause global warming. That means that consensus is 99.99% not 97%.
If you send a politician to represent you who clings to the 0.01% of climate scientists who dispute the accepted position, not only do you give a false impression that climate denialism is a reasonable position but also that there is still debate – the matter is settled scientifically; it is only politicians who were still debating.
The British government of the last 10 years has been seriously disappointing in what it has done over global warming – early in his Premiership David Cameron was seen riding a Husky sled looking at the impact of global warming, but within in a short period of time he was heard to say I’m fed up with this climate ****. Since then, while occasionally coming out with targets, the conservative government has failed across the board – cutting subsidies that were propping up the solar industry (despite predictions that it would be financially viable without subsidies within 5 years, and despite those subsidies being a tiny fraction of the subsidies the British government still give the oil and gas exploration) and muddying support they were giving to electrification of the transport grid.
In America you have a president who the majority of the time has stated that he doesn’t believe in global warming and has no interest in reducing carbon emissions. What is particularly stupid about this position is that that studies have shown the USA will be one of the hardest hit countries in the world by global warming.
I live in an extremely safe Conservative seat – making my vote largely irrelevant, in the UK while the government has not been brilliant on on global warming they have not actively denied the reality. Of course we could be moving with more urgency, and given that we live on an island this would seem prudent as we stand to lose greatly if the ice caps will melt. However, when looking at election manifestos I would recommend you look very closely at what the parties are saying about mitigating global warming and how they have behaved in the past.
In America the decision is very simple. Trump signalled he is to remove America from the Paris climate accord, but due to the the built-in delay this cannot happen until after the 2020 election. If the American electorate vote sensibly, they will not vote for Trump again. It is already calculated that in order to keep climate on Earth friendly to human life we are going to have to ramp up carbon cutting very fast. Any further delay only will make this process more expensive.