Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 26th February 2020

After four months of rain, it would be tempting to think that now might be a good time to start building an ark. Of course, like any sort of project, when you do need an ark you really needed to have started building it a long time beforehand.

There is almost no one serious left claiming that climate change isn’t real, even oil companies are now investing heavily in renewable energy. Yet, despite the recognition that climate change is happening and that left to continue it will within the lifetime of most people end our current way of life, it is hard to gain public acceptance for even simple changes to be made. The waters are rising, the question is how high it must rise before people will back the necessary changes, or will we start to build our ark to late.

We see this most acutely when it comes to transport. In principle, people are in favour of improving public transport infrastructure, that is right up until the point if affects car usage, even a little bit. Polling even shows that amongst older age groups improving parking is on average still viewed to be a bigger priority than avoiding an environmental catastrophe.

Last year, Crawley Borough Council committed to reduce its own carbon emissions 45% by 2030 and to zero by 2050. At the time this was criticised by some as an inadequate response, but having now received a full audit of the council’s emissions and where they come from it is hard to see how a reduction of this scale can be achieved without major changes to service provision in the town. This isn’t a problem which can be solved just by putting a few solar panels on roofs.

Of course, even with such changes, the council is only a small part of the emissions of the town. Ultimately, for our children and our children’s children to survive we will all have to make sacrifices, some small, some big, but if people continue to oppose every effort we are trying to make one day we’re all going to find ourselves underwater.

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