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Opinion

The climate crisis is the ‘biggest threat to life since humans have existed’ says Plaid MS

19 Nov 2022 4 minute read
Delyth Jewell, Plaid Cymru Senedd Member

Delyth Jewell

In Wales, we’re very familiar with the story of Cantre’r Gwaelod – the kingdom lost to the sea because the guardian of the gate fell asleep on the job and let in the water, losing the land to the sea forever. The myth is well known, and it may even have some basis in fact.

The story of this lost kingdom is even more pertinent today as we face both a rise in sea levels and an apathy crisis in the leaders who should be holding back the tide.

The many crises we’ve faced recently, Brexit, Covid, Ukraine, the rising Cost of Living, are all interlinked. They’ve all inflicted damage on our society and the health of our communities and our economies.

All signs are now pointing to the looming Climate crisis on the horizon being the biggest threat to life since humans have existed.

Climate change has caused devastating floods in Pakistan, displacing almost 8 million people.

Climate change is causing drought, drying up rivers and reservoirs around the world and pushing 40m people in East Africa closer to famine.

Climate change will cause our sea levels to rise, risking the homes of millions of people throughout coastal communities of the UK.

Solution

It’s easy to feel hopeless, but we mustn’t. Every crisis has a solution, and together we can begin to change this fate.

Securing commitments by world leaders to go above and beyond must be the aim of Cop27 in Egypt this week. Maintaining the status quo is not an option anymore.

The world’s leaders must commit to abandoning fossil fuels, adopting renewable energy and stop deforestation.

Plaid Cymru is holding a debate this week in the Senedd on the role that Wales can play. Even though we’re a small nation when compared with some of the dominating populations of the world, we can do our bit, and we can be part of the change.

We can always undertake to do the “pethau bychain” – the little things, in St David’s famous phrase.

Wales pioneered the ‘Future Generations Act’ that made it law to consider the impact of decisions on the people of natural environments of the future.

Well, now we must think of how our actions as a nation affect the future generations of every nation.

Crisis

Nature is in a state of crisis in Wales, and the continued decline of biodiversity is one of the greatest threats facing our sustainable future.

The facts speak for themselves, with 1 in 6 of our species here in Wales faces extinction.

We need action on biodiversity from the Welsh Government, at home and abroad.

Making our imports sustainable must be a priority. An area nearly half the size of Wales was required overseas to grow Welsh imports in an average year between 2011- 2018, causing deforestation, habitat conversion, greenhouse gas emissions, and risking exploitative labour practices.

This cannot continue under Labour’s watch. The Welsh Government must ensure we are a globally responsible nation.

Rising sea levels will displace millions of people in the UK, receding the coastline past villages, towns and cities. Continued hotter summers and colder winters will destroy biodiversity and our ability to grow our own food, creating shortages worldwide.

During this cost-of-living crisis, we have seen prices rise incredibly fast. We’re facing that growth at a rate we’ve never known, unless commitments are made.

There is no room for apathy, and no falling asleep on the job. We must take action. The fate of communities the world over, including in Wales, are at stake.

The lasting legacy of Cantre’r Gwaelod must be that we in Wales will never allow our future to be washed away. The people we’ve voted for must stay awake and alive to the dangers befalling us.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 days ago

That may be true in the longer term Delyth but in the short term it’s the Tories or, as I like to call them, the DPP – the Defund the Public Party. . There’s a very lumpy carpet somewhere under which is swept the information about how many tens of thousands of deaths occurred after the financial crash coupled with the choked off introduction of universal credit following the right wing press ‘scroungers’ narrative. We haven’t got to the bottom of that one yet and now they are embarking on a re-run. There will be many more deaths before any… Read more »

Jonathan Gwyn Mendus Edwards
Jonathan Gwyn Mendus Edwards
11 days ago

Fact check – floods in Pakistan the result of deforestation by Pakistanis. Generally, I know noone who wants to trash the environment and recycle what I can given Pembrokeshire’s complicated system. Garden and orchard are chemical free. But how can anyone say that Climate change is worse than Black Death was, or a nuclear holocaust would be. Calm down, Delyth

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 days ago

Climate is a very real problem area due to intransigence of likes of Russia, USA, EU, India and China. The bigger threat is still presented by major stocks of nuclear weapons held by the select few with others like Iran wanting to join the party. A nutter can run his/her coal fired power station for a long time before it catches up with the toxic devastation that a single nuke detonation can unleash.

CapM
CapM
10 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

It’s not an either or situation.
Tackling man made climate change and avoiding nuclear devastation are both essential.

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 days ago
Reply to  CapM

I don’t disagree with the essence of your point. However the writer of this article is quite adamant about “climate change above all else” which doesn’t take much account of anything else.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
10 days ago

Er because climate change could kill everyone and everything? Even Nuclwar holocaust would struggle to beat that

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
11 days ago

I would like to see the Cob returned to its former state. Anything that can be practically done. Can’t say I’m a believer in this neutral stuff, or those dreadful turbines, which need a lot of industry to put together; they will end up like those sea forts covered in barnacles.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
10 days ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Turbines are a quick assembly. Hinckley C is taking a sizeable chunk of the construction capability of Cymru and SW England. Turbine farm takes next to no time

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 days ago

Final assembly may be relatively quick but the manufacturing and fabrication that takes place away from site along with the site preparation and transportation to location is quite resource intensive.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
9 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I must disagree. One part of my employer’s company in Scandinavia erects these. I’ve never been involved but have been lucky enough to see some internal presentations on the matter. It’s an industrialised repeatable process. Like a factory production line. Optimised design, economies of scale, supply chain and repeatability makes this far less resource intensive and wasteful than any other comparable sized structure. Probably one of the most efficient forms of construction I have ever seen in decades. A snippet I heard on the news this morning was that in recent months, energy from wind has been significantly cheaper than… Read more »

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
10 days ago

I am an old lady now, recently having observed ‘human behaviour’, I have concluded that we are are selfish, self destructive species, who have no care for the health and happiness of future Generations, or, other species we share this beautiful Planet with. It is all so sad!

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
10 days ago

‘Twas ever thus

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
10 days ago

Delyth’s comments and worries about global warming are, in fairness, relevant.
What bothers me is that once again it’s Plaid Cymru’s smoke and mirrors.
Good fun sponsoring a debate on the environment, how about sponsoring a debate on the state of the nhs, or education, or transport. Or, heaven forbid, attacking poverty in Wales?
Enjoy the debate. I’m sure those awaiting hospital treatment will find it riveting

CapM
CapM
10 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

I think that there is a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram of people who are concerned about climate change and those who are concerned with societal values.

If we think about it it’s only really in the interests of those who are concerned with neither to pit those in the GIG (NHS Cymru) queue against those concerned about how climate change is affecting us.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
10 days ago
Reply to  CapM

I’m not quite sure what point you are making in the second sentence but I feel a response is required I care very much about the environment and the dangers in climate change. However, what I am saying is that ultimately politicians have to make decisions on priorities, which is often not easy. So given a choice between better funding for the nhs or using limited funds to establish some carbon reducing project, which would have the priority? I know what the people of Cymru would say. Perhaps I should pick up on just one reference in my original response.… Read more »

CapM
CapM
9 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

“So given a choice between better funding for the nhs or using limited funds to establish some carbon reducing project, which would have the priority? I know what the people of Cymru would say.” Would you like to hazard a guess as to what the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those having a say now will say. “That would be by far more useful than vague concerns, promises and crocodile tears.” Those offering the above are part of the problem but do you really get the impression that the article offers those. The solutions to address climate change already… Read more »

Jim
Jim
9 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Rapid solutions to climate change will require that all countries change from mainly demand economies to command based in structure. To be successful that would entail all governments (that are not already) become essentially authoritarian in nature in order to maintain social order and cohesion. You then need all those separate governments to coordinate an approach that is basically centered around enforced demand destruction. Good luck with that. So yes, “The solutions to address climate change already exist” . Those solutions are mainly political at present (through enforced demand destruction) as the technical and resource solutions are not actually viable.… Read more »

CapM
CapM
9 days ago
Reply to  Jim

to Jim
I appreciate points you’re making, I agree with points you’re making .I’d like to point out that ultimately it’s about people not politics. As an illustration

Neither having to wear a sweater indoors to reduce your electric bill or choosing to wear one to reduce your carbon footprint are political solutions.
Both solutions will keep you warm but one of them will make you feel good about yourself as well.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
9 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Read my comments! I worry about the future for my grandchildren but sponsoring a grand debate and talking the talk does not help. The Senedd has clear powers to act in a positive way other than talk. Transport in Cymru is a joke (sorry, not a joke, non-existent), any travel within Cymru requites a car because there is simply no alternative. And planning powers. A new estate of 820 houses is being build near me; no bus service, shops, school et al and each new house conveniently including a double garage. The original planning was opposed and ” called in.”… Read more »

CapM
CapM
9 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

To Dr John Ball You refer to a particular transport issue that you think should be addressed. I agree with you but how would you feel if I used the argument you have ie “So given a choice between better funding for the nhs or using limited funds to establish some carbon reducing project, (bus service)which would have the priority? I know what the people of Cymru would say” I think we most likely agree on these issues but it frustrates me when the situation is presented as a battle for funds need 1 vs need 2. rather than needs… Read more »

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
9 days ago
Reply to  CapM

This could go on for ever but I’m concluding with two simple points. The first is something quite fundamental and which I feel you have missed. Delyth gets excited about a “debate,” more sanctimonious chest beating and very little action Get a good feeling out of calling for action
And whether we like it or not, there are always limited funds and priorities to be met and again like it or not, most are immediate.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
9 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Good point.

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