The great smog – who's at fault, Europe, China or us?
You can see it. You can touch it. I can tell you I scraped it off my cycling mask this very morning.
Pollution. But hey presto, it’s not our pollution – it’s those grubby people in Europe.
The smog currently hanging over the country blew over from Paris. Some might say it’s a matter of grubby Europeans, which has all the hallmarks of a political issue for Ukip – whether climate change and pollution would interest them is another matter.But what it has done is to leave the political classes here, or most of them, breathing (even with difficulty) a sigh of relief. It coincides with the government’s claim to be leading the world in cutting carbon emissions.
But now, researchers at Leeds University, led by Professor John Barrett, have shown what’s happened to our polluting habits.
We’ve exported them to countries like China. As our manufacturing base has shrunk, so our dependence on other people to make things has expanded.
Professor Barrett and his team are arguing that we should now be paying a levy for the specific amounts of production that we consume from abroad.
This, of course, has been one of the key strands of global negotiations over climate change ever since the Kyoto agreements of 1997.
It seems that any desire to start charging for CO2 emissions has been austericised (sounds good, I wonder if it’s a word?) out of successive budgets, and whilst George Osborne stood up and committed himself to £1bn on a new generating system derived from tidal movements off Swansea, there was not a single measure designed to reduce people’s emission of CO2.
If these scientists delving deeper and deeper into our universe and beyond are aware of one thing, it is that one of the drivers for such an endeavour is the dawning reality that we are destroying the planet upon which we live, and may have to find another to take its place.An awful lot of us are in danger of suffering the consequences of our heating world right now.Vanuatu’s president put at least part of the blame for the ferocity of Cyclone Pam on man-made global warming.
One wonders whether some of the alienation from Westminster politics may have at least something to do with the fact that many young people in the UK prioritise what is being done to their future world much more than the oldies now fighting for political power.
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