Climate changes over time and always has done. Nobody knows what will happen in the future. Some experts think we’re due for another ice age, but most think we’re in a warming cycle exacerbated by greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse gases include CO2, but others are far more potent, notably methane, nitrous oxide, aerosols and refrigerants.
The developed world developed by exploiting natural resources generating greenhouse gases, but we have moved away from the more polluting raw materials. Modern machinery has very low emissions compared to the past.
A few years ago we were worried about running out of petroleum and natural gas, but there are still vast resources, especially in remote and undeveloped areas.
County Durham is a small part of the UK, which is a small part of the world. Acting in isolation is futile. Nevertheless, the UK has already done more than most to reduce emissions.
There is a climate emergency in parts of the world (it’s nothing new – there has been drought and famine for eons – remember Live Aid in 1984?). I fail to see a climate emergency in this County.
The consultation omits huge questions (with no easy answers):
1 How to reverse mass destruction of rain forests for economic gain?
2 How to stop extraction of vast amounts of oil and gas for economic gain?
3 How to stop developing countries using fossil fuels to develop (eg Saudi Arabia’s economy depends on oil)?
4 How to stop immense damage to the earth by weapons of war?
5 How to replace refrigerants and aerosols?
6 What’s the environmental cost of building zero carbon infrastructure? (eg a wind power generator needs coal to make steel to make the blade, which must be transported and installed by people travelling there).
7 What’s the point of electric cars if the electric is from fossil fuels? What will the fuelling infrastructure cost? How will manufacturers make money if the only country with infrastructure is the UK?
8 Is replacing a low emission car or retrofitting perfectly good low carbon heating systems for zero carbon alternatives really sensible, given the carbon and financial cost of installing new and scrapping old? Would it not be far more sensible not to spend billions in taxpayers’ money on this and only install new systems as old ones fail?
9 If there really will be increased temperatures, is it sensible to install heating only systems? Won’t cooling be more important?
10 Why are we still building more houses and commercial buildings, especially on green space, and should we not be aiming to stunt population growth and focus on productivity and per capita economic growth rather than growth linked to more jobs?
11 Is it realistic to expect people to walk, cycle or take public transport for most everyday activities, eg shopping or going to work?
12 Is there sufficient scientific research into how to capture air pollutants from the atmosphere and, ideally, use them for something productive?