Harsh though it may sound, I’m glad that we are experiencing yet more crazy weather here in the West. Not glad for those people suffering real hardship, of course. But glad for those people in the years to come who are bound to experience much worse, unless we change our ways.
The present climate chaos must serve as an urgent wake-up call for all of us. Extreme weather is precisely what we would expect from a warmer climate, largely for the simple reason that warmer air can carry more water vapour. And a warmer climate is exactly what we would expect to get if we release huge quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as we clearly have done, and as we clearly continue to do.
Now is the time to be decisively cutting our emissions, and to be investing seriously in low-carbon technology. We need to do this as individuals, and we need to put pressure on our elected leaders to do the same, by making it clear that we absolutely won’t vote for them if they don’t prioritise our response to climate change. And now is the time to be increasing the aid we give, both as individuals and as countries, to those parts of the world that are suffering much more seriously the consequences of our profligate ways.
I write this having just read Nicholas Stern’s powerful article from yesterday, “Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict”. Can I urge you all to read that now?