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Have environmental concerns taken a back seat due to the current political climate?

August 23, 2018 5:00 PM
By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

Storm CloudsIt's no secret that Trump is not the best friend to those seeking to tackle climate change, and that Brexit has eclipsed any other political issue to affect the UK bar perhaps the ongoing NHS crisis. Climate Change however has never been treated as seriously as it should have been.

Friends of the Earth believes that to tackle climate change 80% of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground and that Europe needs to stop using fossil fuels by 2030. This and other measures, such as reducing red meat and dairy consumption, would lead to a reduction in emissions of 80% by 2030.

The Paris climate agreement commits signatories to pursuing efforts to limit rises in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Current commitments by the world's governments however would not even limit warming to three degrees, and that's before the side effects of US policy under Trump.

The UK Government still subsidises fossil fuel energy production at a rate thirty times higher than it does green energy. It is only planning to ban fossil fuel powered cars in 2040. These and other policies are not even close to what is needed, and with the focus on Brexit no new policy is likely.

In fact, since 2015, Government has actively cut subsidies for green energy, green homes and green vehicles. It has also sold off the Lib Dem created Green Investment Bank, without securing adequate assurances over the bank's future role in supporting green energy.

Climate change therefore has not taken a back seat in the current political climate, because that's where it was before. In fact, it has been gagged, shoved into the boot and the car has been driven into a river, leaving us open to a level of climate catastrophe that only a nuclear war could eclipse.