Labour MP Tom Harris argues that there are no Tory bloggers who accept the ‘scientific consensus’ on climate change. While I disagree with his use of the term ‘consensus’, I agree that this is a very worrying trend.
For the record, Mr. Harris, I do accept the link between human activity and climate change. I believe we must take urgent steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to conserve and protect natural habitats and species. I was disappointed – but not surprised – by the outcome of the Copenhagen talks.
Unfortunately, the Right is divided on this issue. Team Cameron are committed to a green agenda (although their commitment to green taxation seems to have waned during this recession), but I get the impression that many backbenchers and party activists are less than enthused by the ‘Vote Blue, Go Green’ programme.
ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie has suggested that climate change could be as divisive an issue for the Tories as Europe was in the 1990s. One of the points he makes is that, while the Conservative leadership is committed to environmentalism, nearly three quarters of Tory members surveyed by his website feel that climate change is exaggerated by the media.
This is a potentially dangerous state of affairs. If we are to have any hope of combating the threat that climate change poses, action must be taken very swiftly indeed. Having large parts of the Tory blogosphere criticising a future Conservative government’s pro-environmental stance will be damaging; especially if they urge the Tory activists who read them to oppose it also.
I would urge anyone who is a climate change sceptic to read this fantastic article by Bryan Appleyard in The Sunday Times. It is a well argued, factually-based piece and is the most persuasive defence of anthropogenic global warming I have read to date. I would say more here, but the article is so good that I do not need to! Further information can be found here.
Turning a blind eye to climate change would be catastrophic. It is not an issue that will only affect the future; it is happening now, and we must attempt to curb our impact now. David Cameron seems to recognise this. However, if he wins the next election, he will have to make sure that the pressures of rebuilding the economy and stabilising the public finances do not push climate change down his political agenda.
This post will probably not make me many friends within the Conservative blogosphere. However, I strongly believe that its current ambivalence (at best…) towards climate change is potentially very harmful, both to the country and the conservative movement itself.
While I personally believe the scientific evidence, I will end the post with one more thought: it doesn’t matter if the evidence is correct or not. If it is, then surely we are morally obliged to do everything in our power to stop global warming? Any other course of action would be incredibly reckless. A global temperature increase of over two degrees would be catastrophic. If there is even a remote chance that we can prevent it, then we must try.