Poli­cies must rise to cli­mate chal­lenge

Yorkshire Post - - OPINION - David Bowen David Bowen is founder of Logi­cor, a brand of in­frared heat­ing sys­tems based and man­u­fac­tured in Wake­field.

CLI­MATE CHANGE is now an ac­cepted re­al­ity for most peo­ple, how­ever UK Plc has been slow to re­act.

Although some ac­tion has been taken to re­duce trans­port emis­sions, over­all steps to­wards mit­i­ga­tion have been piece­meal and less ef­fec­tive than pre­dicted.

We now find our­selves past the point at which small but steady changes will ad­just our cli­mate’s tra­jec­tory.

It’s be­come clear that dras­tic mea­sures need to be taken and, as a so­ci­ety, we need to leave our fos­sil fuel burn­ing habits be­hind, mov­ing into a brave new world of re­new­ables.

Tran­si­tion­ing faces two ma­jor prob­lems.

First, the scale at which we must now act will prompt a new in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, which will be in­cred­i­bly dis­rup­tive and ex­pen­sive.

Sec­ond, the speed at which we need to im­ple­ment is far greater than the first In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion it­self.

These chal­lenges are fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated in the cur­rent eco­nomic land­scape, where we find a re­luc­tance on the part of most busi­nesses (and con­sumers) to test or im­ple­ment new tech­nolo­gies that could help.

Of course, cost is cited as the main rea­son.

Fun­da­men­tally we need a sea change in at­ti­tude and ap­proach, which can only be trig­gered by di­rect gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion or sig­nif­i­cant pol­icy change.

It will be very dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, to de­liver be­low this level.

All ma­jor par­ties have placed their mark­ers down ahead of this Thurs­day’s Gen­eral Elec­tion when it comes to en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy, par­tic­u­larly around house­build­ing and con­struc­tion.

I can­not help feel­ing that their plans range from the some­times ridicu­lous to the in­cred­i­bly tun­nel-vi­sioned.

For ex­am­ple, while I ad­mire the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s in­ten­tion to bring for­ward the phas­ing out of gas boil­ers in new builds four years early,

noth­ing is men­tioned about ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties.

Surely this is the big­ger is­sue, the cor­pu­lent eco-ele­phant in the room?

Equally for the Labour Party, their am­bi­tious vi­sions look great on pa­per but you’d need a for­est of magic money trees to de­liver it, or tax busi­ness and the wealthy un­til the pips squeak to bor­row a phrase from De­nis Healey, a late Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer.

A some­what re­gres­sive ap­proach to fill­ing the Ex­che­quer’s vaults.

Of course, it’s great to be am­bi­tious but we need to ground our­selves in a sense of re­al­ity and an un­der­stand­ing that we will make some mis­takes along the way. The prize will be worth it, as fail­ure to ad­dress the cli­mate chal­lenge is not an op­tion.

My­opia aside, it’s good that our po­lit­i­cal classes have fi­nally put these is­sues at the top of the agenda.

At this stage, quite how far gov­ern­ment will need to go is un­cer­tain.

It may be nec­es­sary to pull back cer­tain in­sti­tu­tions into pub­lic con­trol or at least re­struc­ture ex­ist­ing bod­ies to bet­ter ad­dress press­ing con­cerns.

Un­for­tu­nately in the cur­rent land­scape, short-term aim gets in the path of a long-term po­si­tion.

Cur­rent gov­ern­ment pol­icy seems to be gov­erned by mi­nor­ity in­ter­est and is dis­con­nected at best.

If the goal re­ally is to avoid cli­mate change, why do we have to wait un­til ar­bi­trar­ily set dates to achieve our goals?

Trans­port presents a great ex­am­ple. If you want to in­crease the use of elec­tric ve­hi­cles why not ad­just the price of diesel so it’s twice as much as it is now?

Sure, there will be sig­nif­i­cant cost and in­con­ve­nience in this but un­less we start now, where will we end up?

BURN­ING IS­SUE: In­ter­ven­tion is needed to re­verse cli­mate change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.