Scientists and politicians argue fruitlessly about the reality of climate change – failing to appreciate that the measures advocated to alleviate it are undeniably beneficial in their own right and should be put in that place for that reason. If they also diminish climate change that would be a bonus.
Who could deny that putting in place the measures advocated to address climate change – listed below in the Pettitt cartoon – would create a better world?
In February, City AM, a business-focused newspaper, reported that the government was planning to wind down its £42m stake in the renewables infrastructure fund Greencoat UK Wind, after investing in the launch of the company in 2013 as part of its drive to build a market for renewable energy assets.
And despite the report by experts on medicine and economics at University College London on the serious threats to human health posed by climate change, published in the Lancet, the chancellor announced that the government is scrapping a green tax exemption enjoyed by renewable energy companies since 2001.
Clive Cookson, Science Editor of the Financial Times, lists some of the findings of the review, adding that “action is needed to avert the direct health impacts of climate change through heat waves, other extreme weather events and the spread of infectious diseases — and indirect effects through factors such as forced migration and crop failures”. This is not the first warning- see the box relating to the NIEH 2010 report.
“Climate change is a medical emergency. It thus demands an emergency response, using the technologies available right now.” said Hugh Montgomery, director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance, who co-chaired the commission.
Anthony Costello, another director of the UCL Institute for Global Health said: “Our analysis clearly shows that by tackling climate change, we can also benefit health — and tackling climate change in fact represents one of the greatest opportunities to benefit human health for generations to come”.
We need a government which decides to take measures to build healthy happy communities – rather than selecting those which look good on corporate balance sheets.