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Posts Tagged ‘Green Policy’

Net Zero is not only possible, we MUST aim for it too. However, it is an objective that requires inspiration and true statesmanship to deliver and it’s foolish to believe it can simply be imposed

August 10, 2021 Leave a comment

Probably one of the most unhelpful arguments being conducted, then pushed by the media is the question over climate change, global warming and who or what is to blame or at fault.

It’s a dead cat debate, doing considerably more harm than good, simply because it is preventing reasoned discussion and action being taken to alleviate the impact on us all from the changes to the weather that are already evident and plain for us to see.

I cannot disagree with the concerns and arguments about the approach of big business and the consequences for the environment and serious risk to our quality of life from industrialisation, mechanisation, globalisation and the driving forces of greed and the motivation for achieving profit whatever the true cost.

But before we can even begin to tackle that problem in a way that will prove to be meaningful for all, there has to be an epiphany in governments right across the world. With it the recognition that public policy and the responsibility of government sits at the heart of the entire environmental debate, and that there are few areas of public policy which do not touch or fail to be influenced by the green question and environmental issues in some way.

The UK itself is already facing a range of problems from the climate changes taking place. A very good example of how different policy areas overlink in ways that are very serious, whilst being overlooked by our MPs and politicians would be the increasing problems that we are experiencing with flooding. Here, a rather large blind eye is also being covered over too, simply because housebuilding has become the obvious answer to a housing crisis that our politicians will not deal with in more appropriate ways. In so doing. Our political class are condemning existing homes, the villages, communities and towns around them to what might soon be very serious flooding problems, when taking responsibility and doing things differently could make this in many cases much easier to avoid.

Building green policy on what looks good in the media, what wins votes and what is easy to do is no way to tackle a worldwide crisis. One that will reach an inescapable point where its impacts are going to become very serious for us all.

Government cannot avoid the way the world works and why people and businesses are invested so heavily in things remaining as they are.

Ironically, the behavioural science that has been so heavily relied upon to coerce people into doing what the government wanted them to do as part of the political response to the Covid Pandemic, could be put to much better and constructive use. It could be applied to providing ‘nudges’ that govern the way people are thinking about their own impact on the environment and what they can independently do to help us all to go green.

However, using policies to force people to change does not consider the practical realities such as affordability, accessibility and what other policies green policy itself will impact – bearing in mind that you can be certain that with each step taken, there will be practical and in many cases hard-hitting consequences for us all.

To hear the Government, the media, the activists and academics preach, you could easily conclude that the UK is one of the worst sinners of the World. But it is not.

Whilst Government may feel galvanised in its ability to ‘impose’ green solutions on us all by the ‘success’ it has ‘achieved’ in forcing the UK to indulge all the unnecessary and costly responses to the Covid Pandemic it has imposed, taking this stupidity even further into the imposition of green technologies will end up in a disaster for this Country. One that will arrive much quicker and be far more consequential for all of us than the alternative of starting to deal with climate change the hard way and the right way. Currently, they are taking the easy route, as control freaks inevitably always do, concluding that giving this date or that date and a reliance on technology that doesn’t even exist, that future change is safe to impose upon us all.

In terms of the environment and the wider green issues that are involved, it is important to remember that the idealist’s viewpoint is that the problem will be solved with unilateral solutions that only affect people and businesses based in the UK. Yet isolated action will only hurt us, whilst doing nothing to address a problem that is the worlds, not just the UKs to own.

The reality is that we will not influence anyone or any other Country in a way that will be helpful to anyone, if our politicians just force through legislation such as heat pumps for homes, that are wholly impractical and consider none of the impacts on anything other than the environment itself – just as the Johnson Government has been doing by undertaking all policy decisions in isolation where Covid has been involved.

One of the biggest obstacles to progress on environmental issues worldwide, is the sordid fact that money is always and inevitably involved.

Money motivates people deeply in an emotionally entrenched way. And people who have lots of it and want more of it will not let issues that don’t agree with their own narrative get in their way.

Corporate interests are a massive part of the climate change problem. They will continue to be so until those responsible can be convinced that the same or more profit can be achieved for them, by conducting their business in a very different and environmentally friendly way.

Sadly, like most things historically, the biggest profits and margins are to be made when whatever you are doing means that you are in a position to exploit.

Morality and ethics are at a rare premium in business these days. It is the same people who are accumulating this wealth who already possess the deep pockets that our politicians suck up to and treat as if they are sacred cows.

There is as such a dangerous inevitability about the level of damage that is going to be done, before that moment of reason land collectively, and everyone starts working together voluntarily to address the issues and work better – because they have come to the decision as an informed and unselfish choice.

The saving grace to all this – strange as it may sound, may turn out to be the Covid Pandemic itself and the decisions that poor politicians have made in response.

Covid has literally seen governments around the world take decision after decision that has exponentially speeded up every problem that poor leadership has created over decades.

It means that a point is approaching where going greener will simply become the way that we all start to do things, rather than us having to wait on people who are so far choosing not to make the green choice.

Globalisation is over and done with in the way that we have known it before. The media are making very little of what is happening with shipping, supply chains and the provision of goods from around the world. But goods are not going to be available as they were before, and as the coming financial crisis beds in for the long haul, the realities of genuine localism, food and the supply of essential daily items from within a very local area, if not the immediate community itself, is going to become prevalent once again.

However, to make the very best of the opportunities that will come from a very serious crisis, it is vital that we have the right people influencing and making all of the key decisions that will need to be made.

Whatever happens next, it is essential that the decisions being made are not aimed purely at an electoral echo chamber as they have been now for decades.

Every decision being taken from now onwards will have very serious consequences for us all.

#anewpartyforall

Ignore the climate change concerns of young people and children if you dare. But addressing the shared fate of nations will help to solve many more of our UK problems as they have the same cause

September 20, 2019 Leave a comment

getting-startedYoung people and children share an idealistic view of the world and how it should be. Their view may not be practical or show any understanding of the issues involved. But that doesn’t mean that their passion should not be our guiding light and the one that we follow. Not just in terms of tackling the real causes of the climate problem, but also as we move forward to a future where we work together to put all of the wrongs right.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg appears to have set the world alight with her ideas and passion for the climate cause. But the sensationalism around her carries as much cynicism as it does genuine feeling. In fact, it may well be a whole lot more.

Whether you feel able to argue about the causes of climate change or not, the reality is that change is certainly taking place. It is now in everyone’s interests to do everything possible to mitigate anything and everything that we recognise as being a possible cause.

The biggest problem that we, and the many young protesters that are out and about this world of ours today face, is that the focus on climate change that they and most of us already share is based upon and focussed only on the effects of the problem. Not the actual cause.

We are not talking about the overuse of plastics, chemicals, fossil fuels and more. Those are but the effects of the problem. A problem which is based on a worldwide culture where those with more always want more.

The world uses materials and methods of working which damage the environment because they make everything cheap. Not cheap for us or other end users. But cheap for the people and companies that make, sell and transport our goods and services to us.

Climate change is costly for the future of the entire world.

But for those making money out of it, futures costly misery comes to them today feeling rather cheap indeed.

What we are seeing unfold in front of our eyes really is the fate of nations. Nothing less. Nothing more.

And as our children and young people are rightly telling us, climate change or the effects of it are no longer something that any of us can or should attempt to deny.

The momentum which is now being unleashed by the passion of younger people alone, can now open the doors to dialogue and change that before has been resisted by big business and self interest. It has therefore has been unknown.

But to capitalise on the opportunity, there must come a wider realisation between all of us that we cannot continue to think that the only god available to us is money. A way of thinking that will require our politicians to bring a very different, intuitive, considered and above all selfless way of working to the fore.

The companies, bankers and financiers that sit behind these problems, making money all the time, just need to be handled differently, by leaders able and not afraid to act upon all that they know.

They must be asked the question ‘would you prefer to fold when the wheels fall off all of this in just a few years, or change approach and adapt to a new way of thinking, so that you are making a good profit, albeit ethically in many years time?

To do this, our politicians and the governments made up of them must think very differently and look at every level of shared commonality as what makes us all one.

Politicians can no longer see themselves, their own interests, their own ideas and the people they relate to as the only priority or cause.

This is not a question of creating a world government or trying to use anything as an excuse to build empires.

Its about accepting and being open to working together. Knowing that even across borders, we have things in common as part of a bigger picture, that must now outweigh the comparative trivialities that only define us as nations and as cultures.

We can be different. But also the same.

We only need to make the right steps and to do that we must look all of this for what it is.

We must stop still and pause.

 

image thanks to unknown

Changing Politics for the better Pt 5: HS2 & Travel by Rail

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

HS2 is an unnecessary expansion of rail infrastructure using public money. A lot of money that could be spent more wisely and more effectively in other ways. A final bill that is only set to grow like the cost of Crossrail has.

Politicians have been guilty of fire hosing money at problems, rather than giving thought to solutions that would be better and cost less – usually because there is much more effort and political risk involved.
HS2 is not a transport project that offers genuinely good value. It is not creating a new link in the way that HS1 did when it linked London with Brussels and Paris via the Channel Tunnel.
HS2 gives the impression of creating more opportunities for travel whilst not solving or doing anything to address the problems with rail travel in the UK that we have already got.
Yes, we do need more capacity on the UK rail network. But capacity can be significantly increased without spending billions on new lines and line beds across open countryside.
We just need to make better use of existing infrastructure, improve it where it needs it and be realistic about the benefits vs. the cost.
A lot of the problems with rail travel today were brought into being by the shortsightedness and backward view of politicians and the consultants they employed as consultants to advise them in the 1960’s.
Public Services always cost the Public money. But that’s because a fair and comprehensive level of service provision for all will never offer blanket profitability.
The minimum requirement from any public service should only be that surplus or ‘profit’ generated from one area of an operation should be allocated to those that cannot do so with the aim that surplus offsets any cost. Run commercially but without shareholders taking dividends would soon keep subsidies required to the absolute minimum and ensure that they were seen to be an investment, rather than a form of commercial loss.
A good Government MUST scrap HS2 and change the way that problems with rail travel in the UK are being addressed.
They could begin by doing the following:
  • End the HS2 Project and take any so-called losses on the chin.
  •  Reopen closed line beds and stations across the network.
  •  Take franchises back into ‘public care’ and run them as commercial enterprises without shareholders.
  •  Increase capacity in the network by extending existing terminus stations, building new ones where services get ‘turned around’ and rebuilding those demolished as part of the enactment of the Beeching Act.
  • Use Computer Technology to reduce gaps between services safely.
  •  Create partnerships with heritage railways to provide passenger services using their existing rolling stock and introduce green and efficient rail cars to increase capacity and services in rural and poorly served areas
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