Our MP, Claire Perry, also Minister of State for Energy, acknowledges climate change to be a very real threat and that she feels a sense of responsibility to deliver more rapid progress on emission reductions in the wake of the recent IPCC report warning of escalating climate-related risks.
So why is she promoting fracking, a process that extracts more fossil fuels and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas? To stay the right side of 1.5 degrees C of warming, we can emit a further 400 billion tonnes of fossil fuels and we’re shoving out around 35 billion tonnes annually – and there’s an additional threat from the fossil fuel assets (900 billion tonnes) in which companies have already invested in globally which, if delivered, will cook for the planet.
Hence the very short time we have to make drastic reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and why we cannot afford to develop fracking for shale oil or gas. The Committee on Climate Change says that the government is not on track to meet its carbon budgets and Claire Perry has written that “there is still much to do in transport, buildings and agriculture”.
So why, if her government purports to be a world leader in addressing the climate crisis, is it allowing airport expansion and has announced a massive budget for new roads? Across the world the impacts of a changing climate are already being felt – powerful storms, droughts, flooding, intense heat, fires, acidification of the ocean with potential disruption to the food chain, damage to harvests.
All these impacts will lead to a greater movement of people both within and across countries and across continents, with resulting social unrest and ensuing political consequences.
The 12 years that the IPCC report has stated we have to address this crisis does not, I think, include any impacts from possible feedback scenarios – e.g. the melting of the arctic permafrost and resulting methane emissions. That keeps me awake at night…
So, a message for Claire Perry: no new fossil fuel development and no new infrastructure that will take us in the wrong direction in the attempt to stop greater climate chaos.