ENERGY Minister Claire Perry’s article “Greener world presents new opportunities” (The Yorkshire Post, October 16) rightly points out that those projects which aim to limit the rise in global temperatures also present excellent job opportunities.
But can this be the same Claire Perry who promotes fracking? Is she not aware that to have any hope of limiting temperature increase to 1.5C, fossil reserves must remain where they are?
We need to be serious about making energy based on renewals (including tidal reefs and wave power), energy saving (especially in housing insulation, car and air transport), and carbon capture through forestation and technical innovation. Be aware that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not include the consequences of “tipping points” which are the result of strong positive feedback mechanisms and which increase for every 0.1C rise above 2C.
The decrease in the polar caps reduces the amount of solar energy reflected, so temperature increases and more ice melts; melting of permafrost releases powerful greenhouse gases (methane), to name but two of many such mechanisms.
Such runaway processes could threaten life on the planet.
It does not have to be like this. The economist Paul Romer has just been awarded a Nobel Prize for his work on climate and growth. He says that “it is perfectly possible for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C” and also “that once we start to reduce carbon emissions, we will be surprised that it isn’t as hard as we had anticipated”.
One problem today is that people think that protecting the environment will be so costly and so hard that they ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist. One excellent local initiative in Leeds is the development of an extensive inner city housing scheme. Three and four-bedroom houses, and some one-bed apartments, are very well insulated, reasonably priced and located in a well thought-out and attractive development. Those who work in Leeds have no need for car transport to get to work, nor is it necessary to ferry children to school as a primary school will be available on site. If other cities copy this example, it would put climate change centre stage.
Sadly, the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport is a step in the wrong direction. Local initiatives are important, but above all we should ensure that candidates for Parliament are properly aware that this is the single most important issue they will meet.