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Climate Change – a Real Solution?

Everyone must be aware of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, being held in Glasgow, where countries will set out their carbon reduction plans for 2030. and also, the 15,000 strong ‘march’ of youth protest led by Greta Thunberg, who’s keynote comment was that world leaders have had “26 COPs, they have had decades of blah, blah, blah – and where has that got us?”. However, she has consistently avoided getting into the detail of what action should be taken, saying “it is nothing to do with me”.


And it is statements like that, from both protestors and politicians which really illustrate where the human race stands at this moment in time regarding how to deal with the man-made destruction of the planet we live on. Everyone makes sounds about solving climate change (the average world temperature is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in 1850 and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 50%), which now threatens every aspect of human life, with droughts, sea level rise and mass extinction of species likely to become the norm in the lifetime of anyone reading this, at least 550 species could be lost just this century if actions are not taken.


We are already seeing some devastating effects of this warming, most recently with extreme rainfall causing disastrous flooding in China, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries. And this is just the beginning, with other areas suffering devastating droughts, all of which interrupts the food chain of farming, leading to famine and starvation. This isn’t a movie, or some obscure TV documentary in some far-off land, this is coming to us all, and soon.


We face an enormous challenge, but there are potential solutions, however unpalatable to many, both individuals and countries. Although a large number of countries have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and balancing out remaining emissions by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. And as frozen tundra melts in places like Siberia, greenhouse gases trapped for centuries will be released into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. With the aim to reach net zero by 2050, the steps needed to achieve this target will be by necessity draconian.


But how much are people prepared to tolerate to actually save the planet? For example, would everybody be prepared to give up their cars in favour of mass (electric!) public transport? And those vocal children walking through the streets of Glasgow, would they give up their driving lessons and future cars? Would YOU want to give up your holiday abroad every year to cut down on airflights? Everything we see when we look around ourselves contributes to pollution, phones, TVs, tablets, yet we seem to be blind to this, and still want the latest even though the current models are perfectly serviceable, with no thought about how such items are manufactured, and how the now out of fashion items are disposed of. Imagine a world where you could only upgrade your electronic goods once a decade? Can you?


And therein lies the problem. Modern life is based around the greed of possession, everybody DEMANDS the latest, whatever that may be, but then take to the streets, newspapers, and social media berating governments for not saving them, when in fact, they are the agents of their own destruction. And, as we have seen, the governments seem quite happy to dictate the methods by which they aim to reduce our carbon footprint, but then turn up in around 400 private jets to a climate crisis meeting! And how many of the protestors walked or cycled to Glasgow?


If any of the proposed methods are to be successful, we ALL need to be in it, not just the man in the street, but everyone otherwise the effort will be defeated before it starts, such is human nature. And time is very short, the tip over point is already here.

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