The recent cold snap over much Western Europe with temperature lows not seen since infamous winter of 1963 has prompted Daily Mail columnists and their avid readers to deny any human effects on our eco-system. Yep, just because we are gripped by Arctic weather, does not mean 800 million motor vehicles and 6800 human beings have zilch effect on the environment.
Climate is unpredictable as are weather forecasts or for that matter the side effects of the exponential rise in human activity over the last 60 years. Global warming was always a gross oversimplification, climate destabilisation is much more accurate. Switch off the Gulf Stream, and the British climate resembles that of Newfoundland. The Daily Motorist mindset is driven by the belief in a green conspiracy to stop them driving their cars 40 miles to work everyday and doing the weekly shop at Tesco with food trucked in from thousands of miles away. The whole economy, including service-sector-led boom of the late 90s and early to mid 00s, is fuelled by consumption, consumption, consumption. Can we continue to consume at this rate along with 2.5 billion Chinese and Indian consumers eager to emulate a Western European standard of living? We’ve been on a huge consumer binge. It has consequences. Only time and science will tell exactly what those consequences are.