### Reader’s Letter to The Guardian, 10th May 2024 ### …

Dear Editor,

I was deeply irritated by Christiana Figueres’ piece on the climate crisis (The Guardian, 9th May 2024, link below): Every year for the past fifteen years I have been picketing the delegates who attend the UN’s COP-preparatory meetings here in Bonn … and will be there again this year when they (several thousand of them, flown in from every corner of the planet) meet in June.

My various conversations with the delegates always follow the same line with the delegate telling me that “the UNFCC can only do as much as the member countries agree to”. This is normally told with the person donning an infuriatingly patronising grin. So here we have it: The UN is acting as a smoke-screen and alibi, conveniently “pulling its punches” so as not to upset the status-quo.

Ms. Figuere’s talks about her “optimism” quoting increases in energy from renewable sources. But we know full-well that, with our current growth-centric economic model, that will all simply be sucked up and used to power obscene electric-SUVs and other indulgent activities.

I don’t see much cause for optimism so have a simple suggestion …

1. 50 km/h speed limit for ALL road vehicles (and reduced size/weight for trucks)
2. Massive tax on aviation fuel (especially air-freight)
3. Massive tax on bunker-fuel (especially container-freight)

… to be implemented progressively (e.g. 10 km/h reduction each year)

The idea would be to “regionalise” our economies with primary production returning to local facilities and with the emphasis being on SMEs rather than on mega-corporations: e.g. bread baked at the bakery rather than freighted hundreds of miles from a central factory.

Such a move would be good for the climate, for the environment, for our societies and for our mental health.

But the UN and other organisations, under pressure from governments and from lobbyists, will continue to “fudge” the issue, making only small adjustments around the periphery. All reasons to doubt Ms Figueres’ “optimism”.

And here we need to ask ourselves: Who is more mad: The climate denier … or the person who accepts all the facts but then simply prevaricates, wallows around in excuses and does next-to-nothing?

PS: Then, on top of this, we have the issue of “war”: If the world slips into full-scale conflict, the planet will be on a sure-fire path to oblivion.

Alan Mitcham

Link to original article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/may/09/climate-scientists-despair-stubborn-optimism-paris-2015-climate






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