Guernsey Press

Time to declare war?

If climate change is real, surely our leaders would be doing something about it, says Horace Camp.

Greta Thunberg is as close to a climate change hero as we have, but what we need is a Winston. (30213136)

MY MUM always used to say that everything comes in threes.

Seeing how Richard Digard wrote about climate change last Friday, which led to Jennifer Strachan picking up the pen on the same subject on Tuesday, I feel compelled to make Mum’s prophecy come true.

Well it can’t be a big problem, can it? Because if it was, people in power would do something about it, wouldn’t they?

Look at the Covid reaction. They shut the whole planet down in the blink of an eye with no real idea of the impact on people’s lives, jobs or happiness to immediately protect people who if they live another 30 years will be trying to exist on a scorched Earth.

Surely the Big Cheeses of the world who are prepared to make decisions to save millions would do the same to save billions? But I certainly can’t see that they take climate change seriously.

Covid has proven that we can clear the skies of aeroplanes and the roads of cars in the blink of an eye. It has also demonstrated that the great majority of the population will accept a reduction in their rights and quickly adapt to any new regime.

Here in Guernsey we have been especially compliant and law-abiding in an attempt to limit the number of premature deaths to a handful. But ask us to take action now to prevent the Northern Lowlands from the great deluge that will come if we do nothing and our collective response is without burning fossil fuels, how will I get little Tommy to school with his double bass?

If our leaders really saw climate change as a risk, more would be being done now. Science is a double-edged sword which has both identified the issue and at the same time made us all too casual about sorting it. ‘Net zero’ will be as well known in the future as ‘Apparently a lady rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way.

Well, don’t worry if you’re watching, there isn’t.’

Net zero is a con, just smoke and mirrors to fool the masses that it is possible to continue removing fossil fuels from the CO2 banks in enormous quantities without increasing emissions because an equal amount of CO2 will, by some technological means or another, be removed from the atmosphere and locked up in another CO2 bank.

Absolute poppycock. The real way to sort this out is to leave the CO2 in the ground and devise methods to extract more from the atmosphere and securely lock it away.

Why can’t this be done? Mainly because of little Tommy and his after-school activities a mile or so down the road. Plus of course the need for him to play in the sand of a beach in the Seychelles before it sinks. Ladies’ Bay sand is just not the same.

I wonder what the future will make of us when history is rewritten by the post-apocalyptic survivors of climate change. Which heroes of today will see their statues torn down in the manner of slave traders, colonialists and Confederates?

Damn you, Sir Humphrey Davy and your lamp. But for you, coal mining would never have become a harbinger of the doom and destruction which will plague our descendants. And you, George Stephenson, with your steam-powered trains which opened up travel for the common people, a Pandora’s box which can never be closed.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, you devil incarnate. There are many more destined to be toppled for the misery they will cause to generations yet unborn. The Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Bessemer, Thomas Cook, all false gods. Can you believe that Arthur Scargill spent his life fighting for coal mines to be kept open? And all those proud coal mining associations marching still under their banners proclaiming the misguided notion that their ancestors were a force for good.

What we need today is a hero to lead the world in its greater ever confrontation, against climate change, which is humanity’s greatest ever enemy. And who do we have? Greta Thunberg. We need a Winston to tackle the problem by inspiring us to declare total war on climate change.

It has been said before, if China should attack the West then we would risk the whole of Western civilisation to defeat them. Money would be no problem, soldiers anyone who could walk and carry a weapon. We would accept massive losses in combatants and infrastructure before President Xi could sit down at the remnants of Biden’s desk in a ruined Oval Office.

Yet the greater enemy, climate change, is seemingly so unimportant that in no way should it be allowed to change a way of life which is probably no more than 50 or 60 years old. We can all do the little things, such as bask in the greenwashing of our electricity supply or convince ourselves that fossil fuel heating is OK if we pay a bit extra to fund planting some trees somewhere hot and steamy.

Jennifer made a good point about imported emissions. When we are celebrating ‘net zero’ and castigating China for not playing ball, we will innocently ignore the fact that Chinese emissions are mostly down to us because we are the ultimate consumer who created the demand that China is supplying.

I would like to see Guernsey take the lead in recording gross emissions. Imagine the imported emissions in just one new electric car, or a year’s supply of Chinese-produced clothes, gadgets and gifts. Building materials must account for a fair old load of emissions but, like all the others, we can happily ignore the emissions we have caused by our consumption.

I doubt we could ever achieve net zero if we really recorded the emissions we are responsible for. For instance, we could vastly reduce our methane emissions by buying a big farm in Brittany and shipping our entire herd of cows there and importing the milk. Even though the travel emissions would go up, none would be attributable to us as we eat our cornflakes.

The more I think about it, the whole thing makes no sense. If our leaders thought it was real we would do something about it. They don’t, so it must be fake. Surely?