Davey tells Johnson to save country and world from climate crisis

As COP26 approaches, Boris Johnson is looking more and more like a rabbit confused by headlights. Flashing into his eyes are the growing number of Conservative MPs who believe that greening the economy fast by driving ahead electric cars, reducing wasteful consumption and cutting our impact on the environment will damage “the economy”.

This is a Tory monopolistic view of the economy. Continue in the old ways that are destroying our planet. That must be good in their view because there is money in shareholder’s pockets.

It is proving hard to convince many national politicians, local councils and punters in the pub that we are in a climate emergency. My own council, Shropshire Council, was trumpeting its climate credentials this morning by promoting an environmentally destructive relief road around Shrewsbury. The details of its environmental improvements are under wraps for now but they seem to involve a tarmac for trees swap. Screw up the environment and plant trees in absolution. I don’t buy environmental confessionals.

But we still need to plant trees. Yesterday, Ed Davey challenged the government on its record of planting trees.

Reported in the Independent, Ed Davey said:

This is utterly shameful for a government which has just been warned of the deeply damaging impacts the climate crisis will have on our country if we do not act now.

We simply cannot go backwards on saving our environment.

If the horrifying scenes of uncontrollable wildfires in Europe this week, or recent flooding across Britain, isn’t enough to force this Government into action then I am not sure what will.

The message is loud and clear to Boris Johnson – it is time to show some leadership and take the vital steps necessary to save our country from the climate crisis.

Time is running out. We desperately need trees to clean up our air, allow wildlife to prosper and help prevent flooding.

The Government has been told by climate scientists how many new trees we need planted to reach our net-zero target. It is now time to get on with it.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Friday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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11 Comments

  • Please forgive me asking, but do you believe everything you are told without question?

  • Tree planting is a vitally important element of the effort to stave of catastrophe, Sir David Attenborough had 5 key points from his speech at the UN earlier this year.
    1. May I plead that today there are threats to security of a new and unprecedented kind. These threats do not divide us, they’re threats that should unite us, no matter from which part of the world we come, for they face us all.
    2. We are today perilously close to tipping points that once past will send global temperatures spiralling catastrophically higher. If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security.
    3. We have left the stable and secure climatic period that gave birth to our civilizations. There is no going back. No matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change, and the poorest and most vulnerable — those with the least security — are now certain to suffer.
    4. Perhaps the most significant lesson brought by these last 12 months has been that we are no longer separate nations, each best served by looking after its own needs and security. We are a single, truly global species, who’s greatest threats are shared and who’s security must ultimately come from acting together in the interests of us all.
    5. And through global cooperation we may achieve far more than tackling climate change. We may finally create a stable, healthy world, where resources are equally shared, and where we thrive in balance with the rest of the natural world. We may, for the first time in the entire history of humanity, come to know what it feels like to be secure.
    Attenborough has produced a documentary for Netflix The Science of Our Planet

  • A mature tree, as with a mature ecosystem, puts out as much CO2 as it takes in, we should be harvesting mature trees, making high value long long term products out of the wood and planting new ones.

  • A 2019 Iowa study concluded “Humans could erase nearly 100 years worth of carbon emissions by planting a forest the size of the US and letting it mature.” Do Trees Give off Carbon Dioxide? The Climate Facts.
    “… the amount of carbon dioxide that trees emit is dwarfed by the amount they store. Some species of mature trees can absorb as much as 38 kilograms of carbon every year. It is also why scientists say we need far more trees to slow down climate change.”

  • Joe, it is not that simple, forests can be a carbon sink or a carbon source depending on what is happening to the trees and the wider ecosystem.

    For exams due to a range of biotic and abiotic ecological factors, Canadian forrests are currently believed to be a carbon source, management systems are being developed to reverse this situation.

    Overall the carbon cycle is a balance; carbon in equal carbon out . It is only when something significantly impacts on the systems sustaining that balence that you get significant changes in the cycle which will then rebalance at a new level, often suddenly and sometimes dangerously, but ultimately a new stability will be reached and life, if not humanity will progress.

  • That should be example ☺️. Done for today!

  • John Roffey 14th Aug '21 - 5:50am

    Although the Lib/Dems are barely mentioned – this article summarising the position of the various factions in the battle against climate change – is of interest when considering how far the Party could go with its policies to attract greater support:

    UK political factions in the battle against the climate crisis

    Three months from Cop26, the government’s approach to reach net zero lacks a clear roadmap

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/13/uk-political-factions-in-the-battle-against-the-climate-crisis

  • John Roffey 14th Aug '21 - 6:09am

    I don’t know if this research with regard to tree planting has been previously highlighted on LDV, but its conclusions do need to be kept in mind when developing related policies.

    Secrets of a tree whisperer: ‘They get along, they listen – they’re attuned’

    When Suzanne Simard made her extraordinary discovery – that trees could communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi – the scientific establishment underreacted. Even though her doctoral research was published in the Nature journal in 1997 – a coup for any scientist – the finding that trees are more altruistic than competitive was dismissed by many as if it were the delusion of an anthropomorphising hippy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/24/suzanne-simard-finding-the-mother-tree-woodwide-web-book-interview

  • John Roffey – I agree that the tree communication study was a nice piece of work. I am no expert in this area but I think that a great many organisms including human cells express chemicals under particular circumstances. These chemical signals can trigger processes. They can aso convey information as you describe.

    The fungi link was very clever.

  • David Garlick 16th Aug '21 - 8:37pm

    Tree planting a is a small but simboliclaly fantastic step that we must take. The full effect will not be felt for decades but it will come at the point where, if the major urgent steps have been taken previously, that the more difficult final few yards to net zero (even better net negative) will be proving very difficult to do.

  • I came across these two videos on YouTube yesterday. They are both about reclaiming barren land and returning it to fertility – what surprised me is that once the principles are understood – it is surprisingly easy to do and happens quite quickly.

    Regreening the desert with John D. Liu
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDgDWbQtlKI

    Man Spends 30 Years Turning Degraded Land into Massive Forest – Fools & Dreamers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VZSJKbzyMc

    The first video does give hope that much of the world’s desert could be returned to fertility providing enough land for humans and threatened species and plants to live together – if the suggested valuing system for can be found and adopted.

    The second video shows the astonishing impact that one person can have – although I guess there are very few who could achieve what this single individual has achieved!

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