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Climate Change

Our climate is changing. Across the world temperatures are rising, ice sheets are breaking up and sea levels are rising. In the Horn of Africa years of drought have led to an official famine .
There's no doubt that human activities such as burning coal and oil, clearing forests and making cement, are the main causes of climate change.

It's also beyond doubt that, unless checked, the combination of rising population, increasing prosperity, deforestation, species loss, scarcer natural resources, governmental folly, corruption and climate change will create a global catastrophe. The exact form is incalculable, but seems certain to include major humanitarian disasters and more warfare.

However:

  • Another member has argued that we need to address the risk of flooding by relocating some key functions out of London.

So, like almost everyone who has studied climate change, the Green Party is committed to immediate reductions in global CO2 emissions. Indeed, we will eventually need to remove some of the existing CO2 from the atmosphere. Since the developed countries, such as the US and the UK, have emitted most of the greenhouse gases it is only just that we should make the biggest and earliest reductions. But because the most rapidly growing developing nations, notably China and India, are increasing their emissions at the fastest rates it is also necessary that they should take action. The Green Party strongly opposes attempts by any state to evade its responsibility for our future global climate.

To get these reductions we have to create a sustainable society based on sustainable technologies and economies and this will require changes in farming practice, transport systems, energy generation and construction methods - to mention only the most obvious areas. The Green Party has policies on all these topics

It is not just nation states that have responsibilities here. Sustainability will require changes in how we live and what we do. Some of these, eg better house insulation, will save us money and would be uncontroversial in a well-managed country. Others, such as switching from cars to walking, cycling and public transport, will be less welcome to some. However the Green Party does have useful policies on these issues, and Green Party councillors, eg in Kirklees have found practical ways forward even when in the minority.

Enfield Green Party has turned out every year on the annual Climate Change demonstration and two members visited Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.

State of the science:
The most recent relevant research is reported on the Real Climate website

Carbon dioxide levels:
Before the industrial revolution the atmosphere contained 280 parts per million (ppm) of CO2.

By October 2011 it had reached 389 ppm and was rising at 2 ppm per year. Some commentators believe we can go to 425 or maybe 450 ppm without causing irreversible feedback mechanisms to kick in. Others, such as James Hansen and Bill McKibben, argue we need to reduce the total stock of CO2 in the atmosphere from the current level to 350ppm.

In view of the uncertainties and risks we believe that the world should aim at 350 ppm. In the case of the UK that requires reducing our C02 emissions by 5% per year, starting NOW.

Additional material

Here's a video of what we can expect if we let climate change get out of control

A growing factor in increasing global emissions is the steadily increasing number of flights: aircraft burn an awful lot of fuel, and do so mainly in the upper atmosphere where it does much more damage. See the Video/Audio page for a video showing worldwide flight patterns.

We have published several short comments on climate change in our members' newsletter - read them here

Still skeptical?
Try this site and page down for a series of short videos explaining the science and refuting the standard denialist idiocies. If you are still not convinced then this may be the site for you.

Events
Click here for David Flint's report on a two day conference on radical emissions reduction (10-11.12.13)

Click here for Bill Linton's report on a one-day climate conference (30.4.09)

Click here for Douglas Coker's take on Climate Camp 2008 (on Jim Jay's blog www.jimjay.blogspot.com)

Click here for Enfield Green Party's response to the council's proposals for greening Enfield


'Food Miles'
Click here for a table showing the energy used in transporting food by various means ('Food miles') or here for a Guardian article on comparisons between Fairtrade, food miles, organic etc

Older Material
Click here for Douglas Coker's take on where we stand (8.10.05), with reading list

Click here for Douglas's report on a one-day conference on the End of Oil (11.10.05)

Click here for Bill Linton's report on a one-day conference on Climate Change (4.6.06)


Cartoons
Finally, for a bit of light relief, click here for some cartoons.





Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ