Councils ''Should Not Tackle Climate Change''
Dean Carroll, Public Service.co.uk, 3 August 2010
Councils in the UK should do "absolutely nothing" to tackle climate change unless a stringent global deal on reducing carbon emissions is reached through the United Nations, which includes developing as well as developed countries - according to Lord Lawson.
Insisting that such an agreement would be unlikely due to India and China's need to rapidly increase economic growth - in order to bring tens of millions of citizens out of poverty - the chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation claimed that town halls were wasting resources by promoting renewable energy schemes and green initiatives.
"For now, energy is carbon based because it is cheaper than anything else and it makes no sense to decarbonise unless everybody is doing it; it's lunacy to go it alone when China is building a new coal power station every week," he said, speaking at the LGA annual conference.
"It would cost the British economy £50bn a year up to 2050 to meet the requirementsof the UK Climate Change Act. Local authorities should do absolutely nothing to tackle climate change. Your money could be put to far greater use."
Lord Lawson said northern Europe would actually greatly benefit from continued warming and urged public servants to focus on adaptation rather than mitigation. He also highlighted Met Office figures showing that global temperatures had not risen at all in the last decade - although, he admitted they had gone up by 0.75 degrees over the last 150 years since the industrial revolution.
Countering his views, founding member of the Tyndall Centre professor Andrew Watkinson told delegates that 10 years was too short a period to identify weather trends and this explained the stabilisation in temperature.
"The climate science is sound and last winter was the second warmest globally despite the bad weather experienced here in the UK," said Watkinson, also a professional fellow of the University of East Anglia.
"We could see temperature rises in the future of between 1-4 degrees as a result of greenhouse gases - way beyond what humans on earth have experienced before, so local authorities have to take on the science and show leadership with new forms of energyas well as adaptation and mitigation measures."
Watkinson revealed that some scholars thought the global population could shrink from six billion to one billion if the worst effects of climate change came to fruition and parts of the southern hemisphere became inhabitable.
But Lord Lawson rejected these claims insisting that more extreme warming periods had occurred during Medieval and Roman times and that sea levels were not rising rapidly anymore."There has certainly been skulduggery with the science; it's totally one-sided - ignoring the benefits of global warming and exaggerating the downsides," he added."Climate change is like a new religion and there are some people who see it as a way to undermine capitalism."