Climate change and government inaction

I do not often agree with the Energy Savings Trust, which I think tends to serve as an organisation that gets more public funding than it merits, having regard to its results, but When Phillp Sellwod, Chief Executive of the Energy Savings Trust recently criticised the Government he and I were singing off the same hymn sheet.

Of course, he couched his criticisms in a diplomatic fashion, when he pointed out that there was a credibility gap (not using those words) between Government aspirations and actual action.

Mr Sellwood said “if it were just a matter of policy announcements, the UK would be up among the leading countries”. He might well have added that the United Kingdom also leads the World in the number of consultations and inquiries and reports about climate change; it does and for all this hot air it is doing almost nothing, to reduce the amount of hot air in the atmosphere.

Mr Sellwood was complaining about the UK’s failure to enforce its own laws about energy efficiency in buildings; we in the UK talk a good law about energy efficiency and Zero Carbon Homes and renewables but end up doing virtually nothing about enforcing the laws or introducing real measures that will make a difference to the slow inexorable march of the changing climate.

Mr Sellwood also highlighted the difference between announcing policy and implementing it; the Government announced some time ago that we would all have smart meters; where are the smart meters now? Have you got one in your home to allow you to monitor and therefore save on your energy use?

I suspect that the thinking of the Government on climate change is in terms of getting themselves re elected, as the first and foremost aim, rather than trying to prevent climate change. They know that many of the electorate are very concerned about climate change so they concentrate on announcements and consultations and wishy-washy laws like the Climate Change Act.

If they were to introduce real measures this would (a) cost money and (b) pit the Government against some of the most powerful interests in our society – the oil companies, the house builders, the energy companies and the motor lobby. Any real anti-climate change measure would profoundly affect these interests adversely, and these powerful lobbies can stir up a fuss which might lose votes.

Democracy, as one of my readers commented that Winston Churchill pointed out, is the least worst form of government we have. It relies on persuasion by slogans and short sound bites, so beloved of the media. By slogans like “Zero Carbon Homes” and “the Climate Change Act” the Government pretends to be acting on climate change when in reality they do no more than create a series of slogans which shroud the reality of inaction in a cloak of pretence.

3 Responses

  1. Should the government not also be preparing for alternative climate scenarios, ie extended cooling. What if? Are we prepared with food, energy, infrastructure….. if there happens to be extended cooling? Consider also the political unrest created by food shortages in a period of cooling.

    • No one knows what the future may bring. The science is telling us that extended heating is likely , not extended cooling so we should plan for what is likley. renewable energy will also help us with extended cooling, probaly even more than with extended heating becasue heat energy is capable of being stored efficiently.


  2. а вот вопросик можно? У вас время после поста указано. Это московское? Заранее спасибо!

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