Letter: Failing to act over climate change is utterly shameful
As ever, Peter Rhodes seeks to minimise the issue of climate change and the need for a response by us here in the UK (Star, January 28).
He reveals that ‘the most memorable statistic to emerge from Davos last week was that, while China produces 29 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and the United States is responsible for 16 per cent, the United Kingdom produces a miserly 1.1 per cent.’
He then comes to the irrational and irresponsible conclusion that ‘whether we piously cut our emissions to zero or wickedly doubled them overnight, it wouldn’t make a scrap of difference.’
Firstly, he ignores the fact that a major reason for Chinese emissions is that it manufactures so many of the goods that we in the West demand such as electronic goods and so many more that we find on our supermarket shelves every day.
Secondly, he ignores the reality of the difference in population of the three countries.
On a population share basis the UK would be contributing some 0.84 per cent of the world’s emissions but is actually emitting around a third more – not so ‘miserly’, Peter.
The USA has just over four per cent of the world population so actually emits around four times its fair share and the Chinese some 18 per cent so exceeds its fair share by nearly two-thirds.
Following Peter’s thinking the Chinese people should be refusing to do anything until the USA gets its act together.
We should also be refuseniks till the Chinese act and together we can all suffer the consequences whilst blaming each other.
Taking responsibility and demonstrating leadership in what can be achieved may be novel to Peter but it is what the ‘climate emergency’ requires of us.
It is no comfort to people suffering extreme weather, dying of the heat and enduring drought, drowning in floods or experiencing great fires, to know that the UK, the ‘fifth biggest economy in the world’ and soon ‘the biggest population of any western European state’ (Peter Rhodes, February 3, Shropshire Star), possessing major global importance and cultural influence, shrugged its responsibilities off and suggested that it can’t make a scrap of difference.
Maybe Peter didn’t notice Boris Johnson became Prime Minister partly on the basis of ‘re-energising our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth’.
Taking the lead in tackling climate change would be ‘great’, showing indifference and apathy would be shaming.
Robert Saunders, Apley
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