First, the bad news. Only six countries are on track to meet their emissions targets under the Paris Agreement, and we’re not one of them. And just to rub it in, if EVERYONE meets their emissions targets we get to see 3.7 degrees of climate catastrophe.
What else on the bad news front? Trump still denies it, but that’s hardly news. Cod is back off the menu as climate change warms the oceans. There are riots in Paris as people protest against the French government’s attempt to put up the price of petrol. The Great Barrier reef looks set for another coral bleaching event. The Lancet reports that climate change is already a health emergency, with deadly heatwaves right across the planet and rising infectious diseases such as dengue fever in the tropics. In Poland they are planning another coal mine. Brazil has released its worst annual deforestation figures in a decade. And a populist anti-environmentalist prepares to take power.
Here in the UK, the government, fixated by Brexit, trots out complacent and vacuous phrases. Climate change is “one of the most serious long-term threats that this country faces” (it’s here now, you idiots); “the UK has reduced emissions by 43% since 1990” (they are now only just over double the safe level); “an extra £100million to ensure the plug – in Car grant continues up to 2020” (one year at a reduced level – and at the same time £800 million goes on holding fuel duty down). And so on. At the same time, they add VAT to battery storage, make planning for wind farms more difficult and bypass the process for fracking whilst ploughing ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.
The Good News
So what’s the good news? First, Paul Dacre has left the Daily Mail, and it’s stopped deliberately printing lies about climate change. Second, the BBC has moved from offsetting every item on climate change with a ‘balancing’ argument from the handful of fossil fuel-funded deniers, to telling it like it is. And because it’s a developing catastrophe, they are covering it much more than they used to.
Third, people are taking matters into their own hands. We expect to hear more about Extinction Rebellion in the future, but we can also expect this to follow the path mapped out by Ghandi. First, they ignore you; then they laugh at you; then they attack you; then you win. Most of the people reading this will know that Extinction Rebellion is currently in the first stage, ignored by most of the media (including the BBC, bless it). The tanker is changing course. Let’s hope it manages to change it quickly enough.