Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark’s book “The Burning Question” is worth reading – a frank, measured account of where we are with climate change and what we can do now. According to the authors, and many other mainstream climate commentators, it is increasingly unlikely that we will keep to the 2 degree limit in global temperatures. If we exceed that limit, the impact is very unpredictable but will be bad – extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, loss of species and even more water scarcity. Because of feedback effects eg less arctic ice to reflect back the sun’s rays, temperature could then rise very rapidly, with a potential collapse in global food production.
2015 is an important year for the Climate Change movement. In December political leaders will be meeting in Paris to agree a new global climate deal. We have been waiting for this since the failed talks in Copenhagen in 2009, and a lot of preparation has been going on in the meantime. Berners-Lee and Clark call for an all-time global carbon budget to be set – specifying how much carbon in total we can release from now on. Realistically this will be very difficult to deliver in Paris this year. At an absolute minimum we need legally binding commitments to reduce emissions from all countries, developed and developing.
What can we as individuals and MHSG as a group do? Increasing public awareness of what is at stake is essential. During this year MHSG, along with hundreds of other community groups across the globe will be running an active campaign to get local people engaged. We’ll be planning our campaign at our next members meeting on 13th January (details below) – come along even if you’re not yet a member and let us have your ideas.
You may have noticed that 2015 is also General Election Year! Whichever party you support, write to your candidate to see where they stand on climate change and what their party will be doing to get the best deal in Paris. Go to hustings, write to newspapers, sign e-petitions and comment on blogs – we need to make as much noise as we can!