Friday, 6 February 2009


The first cold winter in Britain for a few years and the cry goes up that man-made climate change is just a myth. An MEP from the UK Independence Party was voicing the usual scepticism of his colleagues this week in the European Parliament. .

But while we have been throwing snowballs at each other in Britain the fires have been burning in Australia, with people dying in record temperatures of 47 degrees that have given rise to both flash floods and forest fires. Wild extremes of weather are expected to become more and more common with global warming.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s new energy secretary warns that unless climate change is curbed the agricultural production of California will collapse and the cities face extreme water shortages.

There is good news. Much of the technology to reduce global warming emissions already exists, and the costs of introducing it are affordable. According to consultants McKinsey the price could be just one half of one per cent of world GDP.

All credit to my Conservative opposite number in the European Parliament, John Bowis, who rebuked another Tory MEP last Wednesday by declaring in debate that even if there was some remaining uncertainty about climate change the possible consequences of doing nothing were so great that action was essential.

What action is required? We need to curb our wasteful practices, invest in means of producing energy that neither pollute nor use up the Earth's resources, and reduce our dependence on foreign sources in the process. Surely even UKIP's climate change deniers would want to sign up to that!

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