A week in Climate Change: Five things we learnt

By Tierney Smith

The UKYCC campaign launched as George Osborne delivers the UK budget. (Source: Conservative Business Relations)

Plenty to get through this week including a Budget in the UK, wars over water and politicans “ignorance” when it comes to climate science…

1) Low-carbon could be good for the economy, with the right support

UK Chancellor George Osborne set out his Budget this week speaking of strong support for the renewables sector.

But financial support for the oil and gas industries and a push on airport expansion made many critics argue that the green rhetoric was unsupported by action.

Outside Parliament, however, the UK Youth Climate Coalition, called on the government to change the way it thinks about the green economy.

Urging the government to support young green jobs – apprenticeship and placements for young people wanting to get into green sectors – the group say this would not only tackle climate change but would boost the economy and target youth unemployment.

2) Wars over water?

Ed Davey warned of water wars as resources become more and more scare (© Leunix/Creative Commons)

As the world marked World Water Day – this year focused on the links between water security and food security – UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey warned a conference of experts that previously unheard of water wars could be just over the horizon with worsening climate change.

He called on the world to address climate instability and engage the public on the issue to protect countries from potential climate-induced or climate exacerbated conflicts. But when it comes to water, how much do we really understand about our consumption? RTCC took a look a daily diet’s water footprint and got some surprising results.

3) Sea-level rise predictions under-estimated?

RTCC went along to the Premiere of new documentary the Island President this week. The film follows former President Nasheed during his first year of power, as he tries to prevent rising sea levels encroaching on the country.

Now it appears the potential rise in sea-level could be much worse than previosuly thought.

Examining soil and rock cores dating back 2.7 million to 3.2 million years in an attempt to estimate the degree of ice cap melting during the Pliocene period, researchers found that the 2°C warmer temperatures experienced then caused sea levels to rise more than 20m.

The researchers warned that such a rise on modern oceans would swamp the world’s coasts and hit as much as 70% of the world’s population, but stressed this rise was not imminent.

4) Sustainable living is also about building communities

Project such as the FARM:Shop don't only offer alternative ways of growing food but offer a space for people to meet

Susainable living is not all about home-grown food, as I found out when I celebrated the start of Spring by heading out in search of some of the best community growing projects in the Capital.

From gardening schemes on Estates to farms inside shops, from apprenticeship projects to vegetable box businesses, one thing at the heart of every project I found was the idea of local spirit and bringing communities together.

5) The gap still exists between politics and the science of climate change

This week RTCC spoke to Dr Phillip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell and member of the Energy and Climate Change Select committee this week, who warned of the “healthy ignorance” of science that exists among the majority of politicians.

With only around 3% of politicians holding degrees in science, Lee warned that the majority of his colleagues don’t really understand the science and said enough had not been done to sell the science to both those working at Westminster but also to the wider public.

Contact the author on [email protected] or @rtcc_tierney.

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