Environment: Politicians are Supporting Climate Genocide

Much newsprint has been devoted to Climate Change this week. But as most journalists concentrate on Rishi Sunak’s love affair with Big Oil, I want to emphasise what an unprecedented situation we are currently in.
Greenpeace responded to the Tories' announcement by covering Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire mansion in 200 square metres of oil-black fabricGreenpeace responded to the Tories' announcement by covering Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire mansion in 200 square metres of oil-black fabric
Greenpeace responded to the Tories' announcement by covering Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire mansion in 200 square metres of oil-black fabric

Firstly let's look at worldwide average temperatures. For the last two months average world temperatures have been about half a degree higher than anything experienced since accurate records began. (To see the graph of this visit my blog at tellthetruthsheffield.org). This explains why we have seen so many wildfires, flash floods and heatwaves recently. Until we bring the level of CO2 in the atmosphere down, global boiling as the UN Secretary General has called it, will keep getting worse.

So what is happening to CO2 levels? Back in 1960, the level was at 315 parts per million. This has grown ever since, to the current 421 parts per million. These daily figures should be reported in the press like the weather forecast as they show if we are making any progress to avert climate catastrophe. (Note to the editor-please can you do this?) Currently, we are hurtling towards disaster.

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Then there is ice melt. The Antarctic has lost more ice than ever before this year. Figures for the Arctic are also concerning, with this year looking to equal the record minimum of 2012. Normal trends have been surpassed. Climate breakdown is here. It is incredibly difficult for scientists to predict what comes next, as they can no longer use previous years as a guide to what will probably happen. But scientists are clearly telling us that it will keep getting worse until we reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

All this melting ice will cause us massive problems. George Monbiot writes in the Guardian “ Research published in the journal Nature suggested that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (Amoc) could collapse around mid-century. Amoc is a vast movement of water around the Atlantic, driven by the downward flow of cold, salty water (which is denser than warmer, less salty water) in the far north of the ocean. It plays a major role in transferring heat from the tropics to the north, especially to northern Europe. Without it, the average temperature in this region would be between 3C and 8C cooler.” The difference between today's temperatures and 20,000 years ago at the height of the ice age is about 6 degrees. In other words, if it switches it will become extremely cold in the UK as shown in the film “The Day After Tomorrow” and it will be very difficult to grow food. Unfortunately, the happy ending in the film is not possible!

The melting ice also means we face rising sea levels. Unless politicians and corporations take heed of the warnings from scientists Doncaster could be on the coast by as soon as 2050 and Sheffield will be welcoming refugees from places like Hull, Selby and Thorne whose houses will be underwater.

How many people are dying as a result of these changes to the climate? You may have heard of 5 deaths in Greece as firefighters battled the wildfires. But the media keeps us blissfully ignorant of the millions that are already starving, for instance in the Horn of Africa. According to the World Food Programme “After three years of drought, more than 23 million people across parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia face severe hunger. Mortality and malnutrition rates remain a serious cause for concern.”

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So given the dire state of the planet it is hard to understand why politicians from both main parties are trying to outdo each other in rolling back their already rather feeble climate policies. In the case of the Conservatives, it is clear they are in the hands of the big oil companies. Accessing these new oil and gas fields will not reduce the cost of petrol at the petrol pump, nor will it stop the rise in global oil prices. The ordinary citizen doesn’t stand to benefit from these new oil licences. However, Rishi Sunaks wife will benefit handsomely from the deal. Infosys, the firm founded by Rishi Sunak’s father-in-law, signed a billion-dollar deal with BP just months before the Prime Minister gave the go-ahead for new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

Greenpeace responded to the Tories' announcement by covering Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire mansion in 200 square metres of oil-black fabric. They point out “Even though the UK public won’t benefit, taxpayers will still pay for 91% of development costs, through government subsidies.” So as taxpayers, we are subsidising massive oil companies that make billions in profits while literally making the world burn.

The Labour Party showed they were completely spineless in defending the planet when Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons said she would not revoke the new oil and gas licences. Every new oil and gas well will add to the millions of lives being lost already to climate change. Such policies are supporting genocide.

If I could persuade you to do one thing to help bring about the necessary change, that would be to join and get active in an organisation campaigning to end our addiction to fossil fuels.