Tag Archives: global warming

Climate change – how bad can it get?

“A bullet fired through the head can have an adverse effect on brain function”. This is the sort of language in which the risks from climate change are sometimes discussed.  In other circles the language of catastrophe is preferred, with the possibility of human extinction sometimes thrown in.

Those of us who are concerned about global warming and other environmental threats have various motivations. For some, the injustice of what rich-world carbon emissions have inflicted on other countries is paramount. For some, a deep love of the natural world and a perception of environmental vandalism comes top. I feel both those things strongly but, most of all, I feel that human civilisation at its best is glorious and remarkable but fragile. We seem in danger of throwing it away by our lack of concern for the biosphere that supports it. I fear a possible future in which much of the world is rendered uninhabitable, civilisation has broken down and most of human life is nasty, brutish and short. That’s what I call catastrophe.

The received wisdom, at least until recently, seems to have been that it’s counter-productive to talk about global warming in apocalyptic terms. That may be right but it risks our under-estimating the damage that climate change could cause. From the evidence I have encountered, I simply can’t rule out the possibility of a global catastrophe resulting from climate change.  That possibility is amplified by the fragility of some of our political systems and hence of our civilisation.

Looking at regimes governing some of the most populous countries in the world, not to mention politics in the USA and the UK, I can’t feel confident that catastrophe will be avoided.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Vision 2021 – a radical manifesto for a changing world

As you grow older you see things differently. Way back in 2003 as the new Chair of Tim Farron’s Campaign Committee I thought that, before we started campaigning, we should set out a few areas like education, health and housing where we needed some clear thinking. Though Tim was reluctant, we pulled together a few sensible people and we talked the issues through.

It is probably a good time for some more clear thinking now.

Where to begin? Well let us start with the most pressing problem facing mankind – that of global warming. Last year I thought the problem was insoluble but now I believe it can and will be solved though there will be more casualties and unnecessary costs if we do not get on with it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments
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