After record February temperatures, Wales needs to wake up to the horrors of climate change

The temperature in Croeslan, Ceredigion on 25 February 2019. A new UK temperature record for February was set in 2019.

Keith Darlington

The record high temperatures recorded on three consecutive days in Wales last week were a stark reminder of the changing climate.

Yet, global warming, despite the growing avalanche of apocalyptic reports being published, is getting little attention nowadays. Brexit is largely to blame for this because it is dominating matters in Cardiff Bay and Westminster.

However, to make matters worse, it is becoming impossible to have sensible debate about global warming because some politicians on the political Right, have constantly muddied the waters by claiming it does not exist.

But as I show in this article, these are false claims the consequences of which can be catastrophic for our future. I also make the case for incentivizing businesses investing in renewable energy.

Facts

Global warming is no longer a matter of opinion – it is happening and that is an irrefutable fact.

The scientific evidence proving this is incontrovertible. During the last 20 years a cumulative mass of evidence has shown that the planet is getting hotter – rising by 0.85⁰ C.

It may not seem much, but in the short time interval of the last century, it is huge.

Furthermore, every one of the last 19 out of 20 years has been the hottest on record precipitating horrendous freak storms all over the planet – including weather records broken almost monthly.

Individual places may be affected in different ways, such as windier, warmer, wetter, and these weather patterns are caused by the planet overall getting warmer.

Scientists have gone to great lengths to install all over the planet special equipment to detect these temperature changes and they work accurately. There is also overwhelming evidence to prove that the global warming is due to carbon emissions mainly caused by the human burning of fossil fuels.

Distortion

Science seeks understanding and objective truth and, whilst not being perfect, it is a proven sound methodology for understanding and acquiring knowledge.

Unfortunately, some politicians, who know little about science, choose to deny this evidence because it suits their end of getting elected – they are motivated by expediency rather than the truth.

Trump is the quintessential exponent of this rhetoric. He is incapable of distinguishing fact from opinion – or more likely deliberately muddles fact with opinion.

He says that climate change doesn’t exist. Why? Because to get elected he needed to persuade his voter base that he would reopen old coal mines and restart fossil fuel based industries.

That is why he was the only world leader who would not sign up to the Paris Climate Change Summit.

Renewables

The answer to this problem is to invest in renewable clean energy sources, such as solar power, because, leaving aside global warming, fossil fuels cause pollution.

Poor air quality causes air pollution and that contributes to around 2000 deaths per year in Wales.

Some countries, like China and Germany, understand this and are spending huge sums on researching more efficient solar power panels and other renewables.

Also, there are many companies, such as Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, who persevere relentlessly to build more efficient electric cars. An economy based on renewable energy can improve our economy and potentially generate millions of jobs.

Strategy

We need to move away from our addiction to fossil fuels as soon as possible. That means governments need to encourage and possibly incentivize companies to invest in renewable energy projects.

I too own a car, frequently use air travel, and so on. But that does not mean that we can’t seek cleaner alternatives that can reduce carbon emissions.

But global cooperation is required to solve this problem. To give some credit to the Welsh Government, they have set carbon reduction targets in their report called “The Climate Change Strategy for Wales”, published in August 2016.

But little has been said since the time this report was published and our new First Minister should be more proactive.

The polar ice caps are melting away, amongst the many horrors awaiting us all, and sea levels will rise and cause misery for billions unless we do something.

Of course, this investment would be costly but it’s a price worth paying if it improves our quality of life and saves our planet.

The cost of not doing so could be extreme discomfort for all of us in years to come.

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