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Caroline Spelman Shrugged

The British Government is about to announce that the people be left to the ravages of Climate Change and cope by heaving-ho and a rolling-up of the sleeves and display war-time grittedness through voluntary “Big Society” :-

“Britain must adapt to ‘inevitable’ climate change, warns minister : As experts call for action now, the coalition withholds green funding and appeals to private enterprise : By Matt Chorley and Jonathan Owen : Sunday, 12 September 2010 : Britons must radically change the way they live and work to adapt to being “stuck with unavoidable climate change” the Government will caution this week, as it unveils a dramatic vision of how society will be altered by floods, droughts and rising temperatures. The coalition will signal a major switch towards adapting to the impact of existing climate change, away from Labour’s heavy emphasis on cutting carbon emissions to reverse global temperature rises. Caroline Spelman, the Tory Secretary of State for the Environment, will use her first major speech on climate change since taking office to admit that the inevitable severe weather conditions will present a “survival-of-the- fittest scenario”, with only those who have planned ahead able to thrive. Adapting to climate change will be “at the heart of our agenda”, she is expected to say…”

“Climate change is inevitable, says Caroline Spelman : Britain can no longer stop global warming and must instead focus on adapting to the ‘inevitable’ impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels, Government ministers will warn this week. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published : 13 Sep 2010 : For the past few years Government policy has concentrated on trying to make people turn off lights and grow their own vegetables in an effort to bring down carbon emissions. But as global greenhouse gases continue to increase, with the growth of developing countries like China and India, and the public purse tightens, the focus will increasingly be on adapting to climate change. The Government will set out plans to protect power stations from flooding and ensure hospitals can cope with water shortages during dry summers….”

Ignore the “blame Chindia” stuff – and think about what it means for the UK and other already developed nations.

It’s probably an admission that the global recession will bar any serious public spending on mitigating Carbon Dioxide emissions.

In the UK, the policy known as “Voluntary Behaviour Change” has been cajoling us politely, invitingly and advertisingly in bright colours to happily and cheerfully cut our Energy use, switch off, switch bulbs, ride life-threatening bicycles (no, no, it’s the cars that threaten life).

Have we cut our national emissions ? No, not really. We’ve just exported them to China :-

“3 September 2010 : Openness urged on UK’s emissions : By Roger Harrabin : Environment analyst, BBC News : The UK government’s chief environment scientist has called for more openness in admitting Britain’s apparent cuts in greenhouse gases are an illusion. Robert Watson says that if emissions “embedded” in imported goods are counted, UK emissions are up, not down. He says the same syndrome is true for other rich nations which offshored manufacturing industry. That means developing countries – particularly China – are blamed for goods they buy for export to the West…”

So asking people to change on a voluntary basis hasn’t worked, and central government action is too expensive, particularly for a “conservative” government facing up to a huge public debt, because naturally it was essential to bail out the toppling banks at the public expense, rather than sort out a new green economy.

It’s as if the Conservative-Liberal-Democrat coalition is shrugging its shoulders and saying “nobody wants coercion and nobody wants to change voluntarily, especially not the Fossil Fuel companies because everybody’s pension is with them, so you’ll all have to fend for yourselves, I’m afraid”.

Cleft stick time, ladies and gentlepersons.

The Confederation of British Industries is already moaning :-

“CBI calls for state help on climate data : By Sarah Arnott : Monday, 13 September 2010 : The Government must make climate-change predictions more business-friendly to help companies to plan ahead for environmental factors such as extreme weather, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) will say today. The CBI’s “Whatever the Weather” report, to be published this morning, says that although the Government has detailed data on the potential impact of climate change on the UK – thanks to the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and the UK Climate Impacts Programme – the information is not in a format accessible to non-specialists. Yet with annual flood damage alone estimated to come in at as much as £22bn every year by 2020, all organisations need to be better prepared for future risks, the business group believes.”

Note : no doubt has been expressed as to whether Climate Change is happening or not, not even by the CBI.

Well, if the policy is now officially “Providence helps those who help themselves”, I think we should all be asking for more clarification on whether we should be thinking about selling up before the floods and storms become too expensive, or the local water supply dries up, or the local roads and railways at the coast become impassable.

Mr Average Middle-Aged Joe Public should be entitled to ask the question “What is my house still worth ?” and get a reply. Fortunately, nobody under the age of 30 will ever be able to purchase property or pay into a rock-solid pension, so their views don’t count (irony alert), but the rest of the voters deserve some better information.

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