Time to get angry about climate change

Mike Childs

31 March 2014

We rightfully get angry when innocent people are abused or their lives wrecked. We expect the people responsible to be brought to swift justice.

Yet today’s publication on climate change impacts by the world’s top scientists begs the question: why do the bosses of the fossil fuel companies get honoured by the establishment rather than face justice for their role in worsening climate change at great human cost? 

The new International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, published today is clear: the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world are already being hardest hit by climate change and will be in the future; climate change that's caused predominately by burning fossil fuels.

Here’s how the IPCC says climate change harms the most vulnerable people:

  • Extreme weather – “climate-change-related risks from extreme events, such as heat waves, extreme precipitation, and coastal flooding, are already moderate and high with 1°C additional warming. Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development.”
  • Food – “climate change has negatively affected wheat and maize yields for many regions and in the global aggregate” whilst further climate change brings “risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings”.
  • Water – further climate change brings “risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.”
  • Health – “Throughout the 21st century, climate change is expected to lead to increases in ill-health in many regions and especially in developing countries with low income, as compared to a baseline without climate change.”
  • Fisheries – “Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic”.

So what can we do about this?

Frankly, it’s time to get angry. I get angry when I read about children with malnutrition in drought-ridden areas and people’s houses being flooded. I get bloody angry about the grave injustices heaped on the poorest in the world by the fossil fuel giants and their mates in the establishment.

Research published last year found that 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of polluting greenhouse gases; all but 7 of these are oil and gas industries.

In the UK, fracking company Cuadrilla’s boss Lord Browne – former Chairman of BP – has promised to invest “whatever it takes” to get more fossil fuels out of the ground. He’s aided and abetted by Chancellor George Osborne who has given oil and gas companies tax breaks galore.

If this makes you angry, there’s something you can do about it.

Tell the Government you don’t want fracking for shale gas in your area. And, like me, keep fighting for climate justice. 

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