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The Forgotten Issue: Why Is No One In Britain Debating Climate Change?

Alex Stevenson, The Ecologist

Alex Stevenson asks why, given the findings of the latest IPPC climate report, the issue of climate change does not appear to be on the priority lists of UK politicians.

Climate change has dropped down the agenda this party conference season – and even the boldest report yet from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has not proved sufficient to shake politicians out of their malaise.

While energy policy has enjoyed the limelight at the Labour conference in Brighton, the forgotten crisis of carbon emissions has barely registered in the minds of Conservative politicians gathering in Manchester this week.

Tory activists in the environment and climate change session in Manchester signalled their disinterest during a question and answer session by not raising the issue once.

It was only afterwards that climate change minister Greg Barker was tackled by one campaigner. And this activist felt passionately that the IPCC report contained some hidden data undermining its central point that humans are 95% certain to be the “dominant cause” of global warming.

“The reality is the climate system is much less sensitive,” he argued. “So it is much less urgent for us to do anything about it.”

Barker told the Ecologist afterwards the IPCC report gives an “unequivocal” set of data showing that climate change “is real, it’s happening and there’s evidence of it all around us”. He appeared to be ignoring the evidence all around him of Tory politicians who remain to be unconvinced, however.

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