Posted by: Deputy Ogier | September 25, 2013

Sea Defences

Despite the Environment Minister using cagy terms like “if Climate Change does occur”, “if sea level rise occurs” , we read in the official report of the Environment Department that  

1.2 Climate change is predicted to cause an increase in frequency and severity of storms  

1.3 it is generally known and accepted that sea levels are rising  

Yes, sea levels rise and fall naturally but not in the speed we are looking at. It’s the speed, the speed of change which species will have difficulty adapting to, the speed of change which isn’t natural, the speed of change which is man made, brought about by the release of tens of millions of years worth of stored sunlight into our environment over the last hundred years or so.  

I’m sorry to hear the siren’s call of the Minister’s take that somehow the jury is still out on climate change. Well it is if you put your faith in the 2 or so % of scientists who disagree with the 98% of worldwide scientists who are an authority on the subject.  On what other policy would you decide to side with the 2% instead of the 98% of scientists?  

The jury IS out if you believe the pressure groups, financed by the petro-chemical industry are telling the truth when they say that climate change isn’t man made and that we can continue to burn the very product they rely on to make a profit.  

The point of this is, we’re quite resigned to accepting that the levels of the oceans on this planet may rise but anything which this island could do to play it’s part in helping mitigate these effects over the time takes an incredible struggle.  

Yes, let’s build sea walls but no, let’s argue for 14 years about increasing recycling  

Yes let’s build sea walls because climate change is predicted to increase storms and flooding but no, let’s not have a photo voltaic array at the airport  

Yes let’s build sea walls because it is generally known sea levels will rise but let’s not endorse an energy report designed to reduce our energy use which is what the last Assembly did.  

To those who do not believe climate change is made made, what are the risks if you are wrong? The risks are that we do little which we could have done and the lives of our children and grandchildren will be increasingly harder, species die out, ocean acidification and a hundred other disasters. On the other hand if you are right, but yet we do take action, our societies will merely become more efficient with our use of energy, new industries created, cleaner less polluting sources of energy brought on line, very little downside . On a balance of risk, we should take action.

However, what we do is to accept sea levels will rise, build walls and other defences and turn down measures to reduce our energy consumption such as photo voltaic arrays, wind power, decent transport strategies, opening ourselves up to be a test bed for renewable energy so we can be amongst the first and second movers but instead we wait until technology is available off the shelf.   

We are not proactive enough when it comes to playing our part in mitigating the effects of what is causing us to raise our sea defences in the first place.  We’ll pass our sea defences, but we won’t prioritise photo volts.

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