It was an ordinary April, not unlike any other ordinary April (even in spite of the bitterly cold spell we faced in the UK) and yet it has proven another historic month. According to the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, April saw “carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere reach ‘highest level in 800,000 years”: CO2 levels reach a new high
In fact, this article is slightly misleading. Yes, we have hit another all-time high, but we actually reached our 800,000 year record at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The issue is that in the 250 years since the Industrial Revolution, we have increased CO2 levels by another 65%. A growth that rapid is clearly not from natural causes.
But, like many moments when we cross the threshold into a new statistical category, the moment is inauspicious and in some ways meaningless. Nobody really believes our CO2 levels are going anywhere except up. What is the big deal?
Well the problem is, it’s never ceased being a big deal. We have grown accustomed to the problem but complacency cannot cloud the underlying issue; we are barrelling down a road of enhanced global warming and instead of slowing down we are actually accelerating.
Enough! We need governments more committed than ever to alternative energy sources, to a determined promotion of lifestyle changes at the personal and corporate level and to an acceptance that we live on a planet that needs its CO2 levels reversing, not just slowing down and certainly not speeding up. Given the skepticism and negative environmental policy in the US, the onus is more than ever on European and NIC governments to set the tone, to blaze the trail into a sustainable future.
So let’s change gears. Instead of scaremongering and cajoling governments into using green energy, we need to turn the challenge into an opportunity. Renewable energy plans as ambitious as this latest plan for British wind turbines: Wind energy: an economic opportunity as well as a green energy solution should become a feature not just of our energy plans but also of our plans for economic growth in the UK: if we can only make it economically attractive, we are already half way there. What other ways can we make going green not only viable but profitable? Sometimes, however frustrating the system, the best move is to bend the rules from within and not remonstrate from without.
In other words, if the stick isn’t working, it’s time to break out the carrot…