Global Heating

Global heating is by definition a global problem but its consequences will be anything but equally shared.  The UK is both a temperate and a rich country which means that, though there will be changes and disruption, they are unlikely to be beyond our capacity to adapt.  In contrast, countries which are hot, dry, or subject to seasonal rains and also lack the financial strength to adapt are right in the firing line.  Arctic regions are also warming much faster than the average and face potentially disastrous changes.

Environmentalists including the Green Party have spent decades warning the UK population that they personally face a dire future unless climate change is stopped.  This seemed largely ineffective for a long time, perhaps because on balance changes to our own weather seemed to them more favourable than harmful.  Increased flooding for a minority of people could not trump warmer weather for everyone.  Greater coverage of consequences beyond our shores seems to have caused the rise in our populations concerns about global heating.

I believe we need to emphasise the moral case for halting global heating.  Which is that we need to act for those who face the worst consequences, had very little role in creating the problem and have insufficient capacity to adapt to climate changes.  There is a further moral responsibility to other species, many of which face extinction or a severely degraded future through no fault of their own.

This means that prosperous countries like the UK need to start on a path of declining consumption and the most radical cuts in CO2 emissions.  That will demand a major redistribution of wealth and income in order to unite society behind such policies.   The poorest countries still need to increase consumption and, at least for a while, increase CO2 emissions. 

Julian Jones, Dorset Green Party, February 2021