Politicians schooled by climate strikers

| 15th February 2019
Children are striking today because climate is not just changing, it is approaching crisis and emergency.

Children are striking because climate is not just changing, it is approaching crisis and emergency.

We have the technology to achieve the change we need to meet the IPCC’s 2030 deadline to stop catastrophic climate change.  What we lack is the politics. 

Our children marching on the streets across the world highlights the real reason we aren't making faster progress. Techies can debate the relative merits of different smart solutions -and long may they continue to drive progress in the efficiency and cost of generating energy from sources that don't run out and don't cost the earth. But the real debate is political.

Politics is how we decide who wins, who loses, who pays and who benefits when it comes to delivering the biggest change to our economic infrastructure since the industrial revolution. 

Photogenic

There is at last surprising consensus on the need for action. We see this in the rhetoric on both sides in the UK and the way the Green New Deal has blindsided the Washington political elite.

But once you get beyond fine words, then politics gets real. Rather as Barack Obama’s 'Change we can believe in' became an impossible blank canvas for a nation’s disparate hopes and dreams, ‘Green’ is a canvas upon which many draw their ideals for the future. 

Children are striking because climate is not just changing, it is approaching crisis and emergency. As Greta Thunberg put it: “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic … and act as if the house was on fire.”

It took just a few migrant boats in the channel to mobilise the Home Secretary and Royal Navy to combat an 'emergency’, while a toy helicopter flying near an airport closed down the skies and got the SAS out of bed. 

Potential prize

The response to the climate crisis is rather less photogenic (although the renewables industry is always ready with a high viz jacket and hard hat for any politicians that want to get their shiny official shovels out). 

Defying their stereotypes of naive ideals and obsession with social media the young are taking the only practical action they can, mobilising to show their political will as they don't have recourse to the ballot. They are the realists, while the embedded ideologies on both sides of politics are getting in the way.

Those (mainly white males) currently trolling striking schoolchildren on social media and asking for their tax refunds are the ones living in denial of the impact of their politics on the planet, guilty of magical thinking and believing in unicorns. 

Climate change is real. The crisis is real. If you don't believe me, ask the Bank of England. The cost is real. The potential prize is real too. Now we need our politics to get real.

This Author

Bruce Davis is managing director of Abundance Investment, which advertises with The Ecologist.

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