THE BLOG

On The Divorce We Must All Go Through

31/07/2017 12:56

This is going to be short. Short, and not-so-sweet. This is about why things have to change. This relationship was a catastrophe from the start. This is about the need to break free.

Perhaps you are thinking 'oh good (or 'oh dear'), a gritty, failed relationship piece!' You're partly correct. Because this is an ugly, failed, long-term relationship.

What I'm really talking about is our dependence on fossil fuels. About how, as we guzzle oil, coal and gas, we're also contributing to the pollution of the air that we breathe, and to the damage of Earth's ecosystems. As many before me have stated, we must transition to clean energy, both in the UK and elsewhere. The extent to which we manage to do that has huge implications for our future - as a country and as a planet.

You might now be thinking, 'oh, not another article on climate change...' Maybe you don't know much, and don't want to, or perhaps you really do care, but are tired. Yet this is not the kind of thing that should be relegated to the 'read later' or 'trash' pile, though many leaders and politicians seem to think so. And it's not just about knowing, or ignoring, all of the facts.

Facts are, of course, extremely important. The fact that about 80% of the UK's energy still comes from non-renewable sources. The fact that according to the MET Office, all of the UK's warmest years on record have occurred after 1990. The fact that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, and that on average globally, 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Many more figures are out there. Climate change is happening. We are already seeing the consequences, and future generations - our own children and grandchildren - will be even more heavily impacted.

As we rely on energy for so many of our needs, direct action is needed, on top of facts. Thankfully, progress is being made. Back in April, the UK achieved its first coal-free day since records began in this era of coal-gluttony. This is a small victory - renewable energy is on the rise. Of course, sustaining longer periods of fossil-free energy use will take further development. However, the UK is well-placed to multiply its already numerous renewable energy plants, many of which make the most of our hilly and coastal geography.

In addition to the energy generation sector, we need to decarbonise our transport, buildings, habits and daily lives. This is more difficult, and takes community effort and communication, as well as pressure on Government. The Committee on Climate Change recently published a report, in which it advised the Government to increase the number of electric vehicles sold by the end of this decade to 60% of total sales.

There's a lot to be achieved, but these goals will create jobs and bring new skills and investment to the UK. The business case for renewable energy is strong.

Everyone can create change: Phone and email your local MPs and representatives. (If you are an MP or policy maker, clean energy should be a top priority). Call for action. Write. Talk to your friends. Install solar panels, solar water heating or geothermal energy systems in your home, school or workplace. Protest. Ask questions. Communicate. Share.

Clean energy may not sound glamorous, but neither is a future of increasingly parched summers and wet, flooded winters. Neither is crop failure and loss of biodiversity. Neither is increased suffering - for poor communities, marginalised groups, and all of us.

We should all be filing for divorce from fossil fuels, no matter who we are or what we do.

This divorce might be a little bit costly; it will involve some more work. But NOT doing anything, on both an individual and national level, will be far more catastrophic.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS