Today’s suggestion that Britons are "eating the planet" after 16th April ("ecological debt day") and yesterday’s intervention by Professor Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to Tony Blair, that global temperatures are set to rise by 3’C over the next century, have set new alarm bells ringing within the climate change lobby.
Peter Ainsworth MP, Tory environment spokesman, interpreted Sir David’s remarks as a sign of defeatism:
“Does the fact that the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser now appears to think that limiting global temperature rises to two degrees is unachievable mean that the Government itself is throwing in the towel? Sir David King’s pessimism on climate change is disturbing. All credible scientific evidence, including his own, clearly implies that a rise in global temperatures of over 2 degrees centigrade would threaten to unleash rapid and catastrophic climate change, leading to economic and social disaster. The world’s poorest people would be hit first and hardest. With effective political action at international, national and local levels, we can not only avert this disaster, but also create lasting prosperity based on clean, new technologies. Defeatism can only pave the way to a miserable future.”
Reacting to Sir David’s intervention in a leading article – The dangers of pessimism in the struggle against global warming – The Independent calls for all of us to "redouble our efforts, not give up". The Independent would be more credible if it practiced what it preached. Its frontpage has one of its trademark preachy frontpages on global warming but it is obviously putting its commercial interests first with an invitation on the same frontpage to win free flights to George W Bush’s America. This is not the first time The Indy has been more chameleon than green. It tests credibility for Britain’s most loudly green newspaper to tell its readers to pay more taxes for the good of the planet when it is not willing to change its own economic behaviour. Why isn’t it holding a competition to win a wind turbine for your home’s roof? Perhaps The Indy’s marketing people understand the readers of the newspaper a little more than its leader-writers?
If climate change really is such a serious problem – and ConservativeHome is very sceptical about the tomato environmentalism of Kyoto – politicians need to show leadership on this issue and start taking some very crunchy decisions on tax and energy. Crunchy Conservative David Cameron has to decide soon whether to continue his environmental focus and start selling some difficult policy options to the British people or turn his attention to other, more tractable topics.