Dear Orkney News,
At the end of his piece on climate change, Michael Fry (The National Tuesday 23rd) closes with the claim that we are not all doomed. He may well be correct in that assertion, as the rich and powerful may be able to future proof their own comfort and safety. The poorer you are on this planet, the more at risk you are from climate change doom.
The death and destruction recently visited on Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe by a tropical storm are a case in point. Just before the storm struck, we were at a talk in Orkney given by two gentlemen from Malawi on the struggle to provide electricity to their fellow citizens, and their efforts to roll out Solar and Hydro power in preference to imported coal. Community Energy Malawi
It should be borne in mind by all of us in the comfortable “Developed World”, that if the worst does happen, the peoples of the places devastated will not meekly drown, burn or choke. They will head for Europe and North America looking for sanctuary, and in numbers which will dwarf those that Angela Merkel had the humanity to welcome in Germany. Will we meet them with open arms or guns and fences?
Over recent months through our local MSP Liam McArthur I have been trying to ascertain what plans the Scottish Government has to remove the Internal Combustion Engine from the Scottish economy in order to mitigate climate change, plus air and noise pollution. It seems that apart from the low hanging fruit of Cars and Vans the answer is a resounding “nowt”. And here lies the problem. We have done the easy stuff on decarbonising through closing Coal Power Stations, building Wind Farms and exporting the production of the goods we consume to the far side of the Globe. We then pat ourselves on the back for being virtuous, well virtuous we aint.
Every day that we put off investing in a low or zero carbon future multiplies the cost and damage from doing so. Claiming that whatever we do is immaterial in comparison to the USA or China is just a cop out, and an opportunity lost. So in answer to Mr Fry, we may not all be doomed, but if we fail to act now, we will surely be damned for our wilful inaction.