“Not enough is being done to tackle climate change.”
This morning, it’s the World Wildlife Fund that is having a pop at Tony Blair: WWF are an active environmental lobbying group. It’s always struck me as a little strange that they should be so active in this arena but what the heck.
But what can Tony Blair, or for that matter any other democratic politician, actually do? Very little. They can encourage and cajole, they can subsidise various renewable energy and energy saving initiatives, but what they really need to do is to make us all wear a hair shirt. Like a swingeing tax on air fuel, big petrol-pump size carbon taxes on domestic fuel supplies, masses of road charges. But this stuff is way off the democratic agenda: if any politician tried to force these measures through, they’d be out on their ear.
What the climate change lobby desperately needs is a disaster, and one that can be unequivocally linked to global warming. This year we’ve had a tsunami and a huge earthquake, neither of which has anything to do with climate change. We’ve had a few nasty hurricanes coming out of the Caribbean, which may have been caused by the oceans getting warmer. But then again, they may not: no one can be sure. Melting glaciers? Tough on the skiers but really who cares! There has been nothing to knock us out of our complacency. We like life the way it is, we don’t want to give up our cars, our central heating, our holidays in the sun and our supermarkets stuffed full of exotica from all around the world.
For us to start thinking like that would take a major event of gob-smackingly awful proportions. And for us to be 100% sure that it was climate change that was responsible. Rising sea levels: where are you? Come and inundate Holland or submerge the Seychelles. Gulf Stream to vanish and give the UK continental winters? Come on then, wreak your worst.
Until such events occur, we will be left arguing about the textual changes in the next set of building regs. Should air tightness testing be compulsory, or can there be some sort of trade-of? And should the new U value for walls be 0.3 or 0.27? And how exactly should these U values be calculated? Do we really think this is going to stop global warming? I don’t think so.
Whilst it’s easy to make fun of the Emperor Nero fiddling whilst Rome burnt, the fact that his fire brigade couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed did rather limit his options. And whilst Bush and Blair make easy targets for the likes of the WWF, they might do better to aim their barbs at us. Or just be patient and wait for the coming cataclysm.