by John Stewart
STIR issue 05
It could be a game-changer, the flooding. It seems to have opened eyes to climate change where myriad arguments and international conferences have only failed. It’s perhaps not surprising this has happened as the floods have literally brought home to many people the reality of climate change. I overheard the comment: “The English call cold winters ‘bracing’, hot summers ‘a nice change’, but floods threatened their pride and joy — their carefully nurtured homes.”
The floods seem to have also helped the Prime Minister rediscover his inner green self too. He’s not quite hugging huskies again but he told the House of Commons in January, “Colleagues across the House can argue about whether [the flooding] is linked to climate change or not. I very much suspect that it is.”
Another person in little doubt was Prince Charles as he addressed a summit in early February organised by his charity Business in the Community. He said the flooding of the Somerset Levels was a “classic example” of what happens if society pays “little attention to the accumulating impact of climate change.”
Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, claimed that the variable UK climate means that whilst there is “no definitive answer ... all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change.”
And heavyweight Lord Stern, author of the influential 2006 Stern Report, stated that he now feels he did not make the case strongly enough back then: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks.” He has now urged politicians to see the floods and other extreme weather around the globe as a “wake-up call to act now.”
I cite these examples to show that even the establishment is coalescing around the view that
“Climate change itself is likely to determine the way forward ... Floods, droughts and soaring temeratures can be very persuasive.”
human-induced climate change is a real threat that needs to be dealt with. When that happens — in any field — policy change is likely to follow. The Lord Lawsons of this world, and similar climate sceptics/deniers, are being shut out of establishment thinking. They are seeing their arguments drown in the flooded fields of Somerset.
So here’s your starter for 10. Who said this?
“It seems to me unarguable that man has an impact on the climate. It seems to me unarguable that climate change can have a devastating and damaging impact on societies and economies that are even less developed. And therefore it seems to me unarguable that we should seek first to lessen the impact that man might have on the climate, and secondly invest appropriately in measures to mitigate and protect individuals and societies from the impact of climate change.”
A deep-green dreamer? No. It was Michael Gove, the secretary of state for education in the current government. He gave these words at the