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YOUR VIEWS: Complacency is dangerous

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COP 27 took place in Egypt earlier this month.
COP 27 took place in Egypt earlier this month.

I write in response to Charles Bannerman’s column on November 18 regarding climate change, because I feel he encouraged complacency – which is a real danger.

It is understandable he feels dejected byCOP27 and many of us are disappointed by the failure of world leaders to agree on further reductions of carbon emissions. But COP 27’s pledge of ‘loss and damage’ payments should not be underestimated although the world’s lack of progress does not bode well for this new commitment to climate justice.

Mr Bannerman wrote about the unfairness of the UK having to make life-changing efforts to reduce global warming when we produce only one per cent of emissions. One per cent takes no account of our historical emissions which are still locked into the atmosphere. Our historical emissions will have contributed to the fires, floods and famine ravaging the Amazon, Pakistan and the Horn of Africa this year alone. Nor does one per cent take account of our offshore emissions, either in goods we import from other countries or the waste we still export to poorer parts with poor environmental regulation.

Loss and damage monies, best thought of as loan-free finance, together with the transfer of technology and strengthening the capacity of poorer countries to fight climate threats is the best way to ensure less developed countries have the ability to reduce their emissions and cope with climate chaos.

Mr Bannerman suggests people will not be motivated to reduce their carbon footprint but I know very few people who have not made lifestyle changes – though no doubt we could all do more. In terms of those over-populated countries where he believes the greatest problems lie, he might be interested to know that India’s population of 1.4 billion has embraced Prime Minister Modi’s LIFE movement (Lifestyle for Environment) which encourages people to abstain from mindless consumption and to use natural resources carefully. China has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060, invested massively in electric car production, and ploughed $21b into fighting pollution.

We may no longer be able to limit global warming to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels, but every degree we keep it down equates with less land destruction, crop failure, misery and migration. This is why complacency is so dangerous – complacency will allow continuing overconsumption and continuing extraction and burning of fossil fuels. If your car is hurtling towards a brick wall at 70mph, don’t you at least try and minimise the damage by slamming on the brakes?

Kate MacLachlan

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