Climate change and the case for funding energy-efficiency schemes

The Guardian, 28 July 2015:

Calls for action on climate change from Arnold Schwarzenegger and other luminaries should have been made decades ago (Global warming is not science fiction, warns Schwarzenegger, 22 July).  In 1989 I wrote an editorial for the Lancet entitled “Health in the Greenhouse” which concluded as follows:

Any strategy to combat global warming must be conducted on a global scale … This approach will require a new agenda for world leaders, a new role for the United Nations Environmental Programme, and a new awareness of man’s fundamental reliance on the integrity of world ecosystems.The expense may be considerable, but the cost of doing nothing is incalculable”.

Twenty six years on and nothing much has changed except that annual emissions of CO2 worldwide have risen by 60 per cent, whilst renewables account for just 2 per cent of global primary energy production. In the UK, the government is phasing out subsidies for on- shore wind whilst offering tax breaks to fracking companies. Stricter standards for new build have been shelved, energy conservation is being scaled back and feed in tariffs for solar are being cut.

George Osborne has said he does not want Britain to be “ahead of the pack on climate change”. He can rest assured that there is absolutely no danger of that.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

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