Future Earth

It’s no longer about Climate Change

0 Comments 08 April 2012

I love podcasts and use them all the time – what busy person wouldn’t in today’s world and I’m no different although one downside is that yesterdays or last week’s news tend to be your current affairs.

One recent interview caught my ear – you may have heard it and if you didn’t I would highly recommend having a listen. It was on the Daily Bacon podcast where Richard Bacon was interviewing James Delingpole who I’m not a great fan of – when someone describes himself on their Twitter feed as ‘Right About Everything’ you begin to get the picture of what sort of person they are. He’s clearly very bright, often eloquent and sometimes very funny with his acerbic tongue but seems very angry and ultimately quite hard to like as the interview proves.

He’s just written a book called ‘Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing your Children’s Future’ in which he sets out his thesis for why he’s a climate skeptic. Not a denier as he insisted on Bacon’s show. He accepts that climate changes but not as a result of mankind’s activities on the planet. He claims that anthropogenic CO2 has not been proven to contribute to global warming by observable data. Yes they have an impact but in such minuscule amounts that its impact is tiny.

But his real beef is with the direction it is taking the global economy. In his own words ‘we are committing the global economy to disastrous measures like wind farms and solar panels which are ruining the landscape and increasing our energy bills by hundreds of billions of dollars but not contributing any environmental benefit at all. The chances of catastrophic climate change occurring in the next century are so risibly small it is not worth spending billions of pounds combating it and damaging the economy.’

Is he right?

I personally don’t think so. There is a growing body of evidence to hand that demonstrates the climate is warming and that mankind is more than partly responsible for it. But that’s yesterday’s news. The debate has moved on. Way beyond whether we are causing climate change.

It is moving into new territory principally around whether we can sensibly manage our very limited resources. This in the year that mankind passed the 7 billion mark and middle classes continue to spring up everywhere and demand the same luxuries that we in the west take for granted. That is the true battle ground that will be fought in the future. Managing our collective appetite for more stuff against a backdrop of finite resources be it fuel, minerals, food, land or anything else that supports an aspirational lifestyle. Climate change is just one consequence of that excessive consumption. As are water shortages and falling fish stocks to name but two.

So there you have it Mr Delingpole – win your intellectual battles and fight your skeptical fight but perhaps your focus should be on how we can change our consumption levels or at least manage our resources better before we strip the planet bare.

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