One could argue that we are living in a post-truth society. One where facts and opinions are indistinguishable. This phenomenon is best encapsulated in the current commander in chief of the US, and his catchphrase of ‘fake news’. If you repeat enough that media outlets and experts are not to be trusted, or have a hidden agenda, then you and the public can deny their facts with impunity. This phenomenon of ‘anti-rationalism’ is rampant, not just in the US, but in Europe.
What does this have to do with climate-change you’re asking? Well, climate change is an undeniable fact. A universal, demonstrative truth. A truth that is far, far too important for the passive press and political establishment in this county to relegate to the side-lines. An issue that, in the current dominant narrative, is debatable. The news media has to take some of the blame for the public perception of climate change due to their false equivalency of experts and ‘experts’ (shills). Opinion is not divided among those who know and study the science behind climate change.
The two major parties in the UK, Labour and Conservatives, refuse to engage seriously and proactively on this issue at both a national and international level, The result is that the narrative is handed over freely to the populist right. It is easy and fair for us to attack Trump for pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accords (2015), but we must realise the reasons why. Reasons that are not unique to Trump, America or even Britain. Lobbyists. Specifically, the fossil fuel industry. It is in their interests for the truth about climate change to be denigrated as it would hurt their bottom line to act, so their lackies in power ensure no action is taken. Be it Exxon Mobil in the US, or BP in the UK.
Or, should I say used to. What is incredible is that many of the biggest oil-companies in the world backed the climate accord, not for environmental reasons, but because in the long run it will be good for business. Trumps Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (a man put in power because of his ties to Exxon deals in Russia) even urged the real-life King Joffrey not to pull out of the accord. But, Obama signed it, therefore it must automatically be destroyed. Thankfully, none of the other reluctant signees have shunned the treaty yet, as was feared. Perhaps to follow Trumps lead was too much for them.
So, we must look to our own shores. It seems appropriate that the nation that spearheaded the industrial revolution that started this problem, should be the nation that leads to way in remedying it. For a start we must push the electric car deadline up to match that of France and Germany, if not before them. Britain can and must join our Scandinavian cousins to the North, utilizing our expertise and wealth to become a beacon of environmentalism. Our generation didn’t start this mess, but we must be the ones to remedy it.
Last modified: 2nd January 2020