Thousands of protestors turned up outside the White House recently to demonstrate their displeasure against Trump's policy on climate change. Closer to home it had me wondering, what exactly are the major differences between Trump's policies towards climate change and those of our own politicians? Thankfully, there's a general election taking place, where political parties are supposed to set out their policies for dealing with the most pressing issues affecting the country. In theory given that it is the most important issue affecting the future of the planet, one might expect it to feature prominently in the speeches and campaigns of the major political parties.
Yet thus far in the election campaign it has hardly featured. Before the campaign began Tim Farron claimed that 'climate change must be the pressing issue for liberals', whilst Corbyn called it 'the single most important issue facing humanity'. Despite such pronouncements we have seen very little emphasis on the most important issue facing humanity in the campaign so far, despite the world experiencing a second, successive, record annual rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. The government meanwhile has sent out a clear message where its priorities lie, moving the department for Brexit into the old offices of the abolished Department for Energy and Climate Change.
For some bizarre reason politicians have come to believe that climate change is an issue that is separate and distinct from all the other concerns affecting our country, whether that be the economy or the state of the NHS. Brexit and the subsequent impact it wall have on some of the aforementioned issues has become the main focus of this election. Yet climate change has a direct impact upon so many of the central issues our politicians care about. Tackling it can help boost the economy, creating much needed jobs whilst simultaneously reducing the negative impact air pollution has on health, alleviating pressueres on the NHS.
Yet concerns over the future of fracking, subsidies for the North Sea oil and gas sector as well as the UK's dismal performance on renewable energy resources, have barely featured. A report earlier in the year found that whilst the EU is on track to meet its renewable energy targets, the UK is one of only three member states to become more dependent on imported energy in the last decade. Overall, the UK lags behind most other OECD countries in clean technology take-up and innovation.
Irrespective of what aspirations the major governing parties have for our country, none of these will be possible unless we live in a habitable climate. If we are to tackle the most pressing issue affecting the future of humanity, it will require courage on behalf of our mainstream politicians, to have a much broader vision than one simply focused on a narrow vision of Brexit and to go beyond the confines of identity politics. For the challenges posed by climate change affect us all. It's about time they took centre stage.