Apparently it’s all over if we don’t talk fast. At least in the view of two British government agencies, Natural England and the Environment Agency, who said in a joint article that “It’s clear that 2020 is our last chance to bring the world together to take decisive action on climate change”. Didn’t we just have one of those? In fact, haven’t we had 25 of them? Anyway, just out of curiosity, if we don’t bring the world together again this year, or do but fail to take decisive action, will you throw in the towel and stop yelling because we missed our last chance and now it’s too late? We didn’t think so.
According to the chairs of Natural England and Environment Agency, Tony Juniper and Emma Howard Boyd, blah blah blah. As in “Climate change is causing damage to ecosystems, such as the droughts which are wrecking chalk rivers and wetlands, while the degradation of the natural environment, such as deforestation and drainage of peatlands, is leading to the emissions causing climate change”. So climate change is causing climate change, extreme weather is upon us and it’s time to plant trees and “lift plans for clean, green, healthy and resilient communities at home towards action for the whole world”.
How anyone would know if such a thing had been done is hard to guess. Even the emphasis on droughts is a bit odd since the Environment Agency’s news page is full of flood warnings, except of course that climate change causes wet dryness. But if we’re in the final year of our final opportunity for a last chance, isn’t lifting plans toward action rather a slow and uncertain approach?
Also, as the Independent observed in touting this great plan to have a great plan, “The warning comes after little progress at UN climate talks in Madrid and ahead of a series of international meetings in 2020, including on protecting nature in China in October and crucial climate talks in Glasgow in November.” Um, people, the last meeting failed and others are already scheduled including a “crucial” one in the UK for this year. So what exactly is it that we need to do, at these or other meetings large numbers of important people will fly to, that we aren’t already doing or didn’t already fail to do?
If it’s, say, a pledge to reach zero emissions by 2050, Britain already made one. If it’s to ban gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2040, Britain already did in 2017 (and isn’t making it). But apparently we can all get rich if we try again, since Juniper and Boyd assure us “the Global Commission on Adaptation estimated that investing $1.9 trillion in adaptation globally over the next decade could deliver $7 trillion in total net benefits.”
Obviously groups like that one never overestimate the benefits of green energy. But with all that money just lying on the table, why aren’t banks leaping at the opportunity to rake it in by making green investments? Because the scheme requires, um, “adequately resourced public bodies with the capability to undertake complex and sometimes controversial work on the ground.” Aka massive subsidies. To us.
Please place large bundles of cash in the hat and move along.