Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

50% of us are not yet sure about climate change, according to opinion polls. We can all see that the climate is changing, but we also know that it has done this periodically throughout the history of this planet, hence the Ice Age. The key issue is: are we causing it?
I have to make a confession, which will disappoint some. I have tried really hard to buy into the hard core green agenda over the past few years but something inside prevents me from going the whole way. I realise that pumping all of this carbon into our atmosphere can hardly be a good thing, but is it really causing a change in weather patterns of this awesome globe on which we live? I want to believe and yet…
Is it truly possible, I hear you ask, that all of these international scientists could be wrong? Well, yes actually. The people who built the Titanic branded her as the ship that could not be sunk. Many economists over the past 15 years have been telling us there would never be another recession. Experts can be wrong. They can also have their own agenda, as we have seen recently. This new-found focus on climate change must not become another religion. It is not heresy simply to raise a question or two.
The nation is divided on this. You can tell that because at the same time as world leaders are grappling with emergency measures in Copenhagen, our streets are still full of twinkling Christmas lights!
But perhaps it doesn't matter. Because we know that gas and oil – the great carbon producers – are running out anyway and energy security is going to become the hottest issue of the next 50 years, both viewpoints lead in the same direction. We will have to conserve energy anyway (reducing carbon), we will have to place greater reliance on renewables and other forms of energy production anyway (reducing carbon) so we may as well crack on with it.
Here is what I think:
1. We should all try and reduce our carbon footprints.
2. Government policy should encourage the creation and use of alternative energy sources and gradually disincentivise heavy carbon production
3. Continual efforts must be made to reach international consensus
We are stewards of this planet and must take better care of it. But all of this must happen at a rate and at a pace we can afford.

posted by Gary @ 13:38