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Blimey, a climate emergency

08 May 2019 | News Roundup

Britain beats Canada to become the first nation to declare a climate emergency. Which has a certain grim logic as the Global Warming Policy Forum’s Dr. John Constable complains, because Britain’s climate change strategy is already making people go cold and hungry, especially the poor. Naturally, since less energy means less prosperity, and rising prices for essentials hit the poor hardest. But it’s actually the plan, because no amount of hoopla about alternative energy can change economics, or physics.

The usual suspects are chortling away at the triumph of words over deeds, saying somehow Extinction Rebellion’s direct action forced government to say something. As if politicians need urging. As “Triple J Hack” writes for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is directly state-funded but of course “is expressly independent of government and partisan politics”, “The proposal, which demonstrates the will of the parliament on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.”

Triple J Hack is a pseudo-person (currently one Tom Tilley) who evidently “talks about the stuff that matters to young Australians”, soliciting things like “your bad sex stories”. And Triple J couldn’t be happier if he was an activist not a journalistic Hack. “For 10 days in April, tens of thousands of people committed acts of civil disobedience, including blocking traffic across the Thames, gluing themselves onto trains, graffiting the headquarters of oil giant Shell, and blockading the stock exchange. And it apparently worked: The protests led to two separate parliamentary debates, and these were capped this week by the successful climate emergency motion. The UK media has also mentioned climate change more in April than it has at any other time in the last five years - including during the Paris Agreement negotiations in 2016.”

What’s odd is that while these are just more words, Britain already had an aggressive climate policy of dumping money into ineffective alternative energy and shutting down the reliable kind, which reliably drives prices up, creating massive uncertainty and not a little suffering. So the idea was to force it to say it would do what it was already doing that wasn’t working. Yay!

Triple J Hack says “showing the protests have worked doesn't help explain why this happened now, in April 2019, after apparently failing every other time. One theory is that the climate denial movement has run its course. Richard Black, a former BBC environment correspondent and author of Denied: the Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism, told the Guardian the BBC appears to have stopped giving air time to climate deniers to 'balance' the debate. Mainstream media is now taking the issue seriously, he said: "The facts have changed. And in the end, if you want to be credible you have to go with the facts."”

Indeed. And the facts are that more expensive and less reliable electricity hurts everyone, especially the poor. And Extinction Rebellion’s claims are almost without exception a load of codswallop unsupported by the facts about temperature, extreme weather or anything else including that politicians and the press had been largely ignoring the issue until now.

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