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UK: climate change can only be constrained by systems change.

Morning Star 16th May 2019, Alan Simpson: The unthinkable is happening. Parliament, public institutions and the press are waking to the fact that climate change can only be
constrained by systems change. This recognition is still in its infancy,
but it is already unstoppable.

Since the 2017 general election, there have
been ample opportunities for MPs to show real political leadership on the
climate crisis. They never did. Instead, Parliament has preferred to play
Trivial Pursuit with Brexit absurdities. Social movements had to step into
the vacuum; addressing the big picture issues politicians had been choosing
to ignore.

Britain’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) would not have had
the political space to bring forward their own “pull your finger out”
report without the occupations that brought London streets to a halt. Nor
would they have been listened to.

The latest UN report on species extinctions now gets treated as evidence, not argument. Politicians of all shades queue up, calling for a programme to deliver the CCC rescue plan.

Few grasp the upheavals involved (or that, in itself, this will still not
be enough). Over 60 per cent of what the CCC calls for involves behaviour
change; all of which is doable. What they duck is that you won’t get
behaviour change without systems change.

How can Labour deliver climate stability if large parts of the party are still locked into airport
expansions, fossil fuel subsidies, expanding road programmes and the
illusion of a new era of global free-trade deals? Physics tells us there
are no “slow track’ survival options left.

A better starting point lies
somewhere between Extinction Rebellion and the CCC. To join in, Labour may
need to tear up whatever has been its draft manifesto for the next
election, replacing it with a new “climate emergency” one. Former
Labour leader Ed Miliband was right in telling Radio 4 that the British
economy must be “put on a war footing to tackle climate change.”

The answer isn’t to go building more runways, motorways or shopping malls.
What we need is to replant forests, green our cities, and give pollinators
places to feed, breed and shelter in. And for the public, we need a
national programme to green the nation’s habitat too; delivering warm
homes that also produce more energy than they consume.

May 18, 2019 - Posted by | general

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