There is no doubting that climate change has become one of the most important issues on the agenda of most governments in recent years. Footage from around the world shows the effects of global warming. Wild fires, floods and droughts.
The response from governments has been varied. One only has to look at the war in Ukraine to realise that climate change is not the number one item on the list of Ukraine or Russia. Even the outspoken campaigner Greta Thunberg has nothing to say on the massive amounts of pollution generated by this awful war. The war is leaving behind an environment that will mostly likely be destroyed for decades. The war not only threatens food security globally, but also severely damages the country’s ecosystem, while also fuelling the climate crisis.
If the change in temperature is something you may say you can live with and you welcome the warmer summers consider the implications on food production. Crops need water and with increased temperatures and less rain comes drought.
Those plans to plant millions of trees in Wales are of course well meaning too. Who doesn’t love a tree? Let’s hope that Mother Nature does not have further surprises like Dutch Elm and Ash Dieback in store. Councils don’t take kindly to trees in residential areas and developers are ‘choppin em’ down like no tomorrow under the gaze of governments. Don’t get me started on the Amazonian rainforests.
There are a number of issues surrounding the tree planting scheme, none so pronounced as the reaction from farmers who have seen land they wished to purchase for growing crops and feeding cattle bought up by the Welsh Government to plant trees.
The farmers are not against tree planting they just want them to be planted on land that is not good farm land, rather in upland areas and on land that is beyond the usual scope for cattle and crops. Some farmers are claiming that Welsh Government are pricing them out of land, a claim that the Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters denies.
The President of this year’s Royal Welsh Show a forester and farmer himself has also reiterated that planting trees is laudable but in the right place. He also asked for less nannying from Welsh government. So why are Welsh Government buying up farm land instead of funding potential young farmers with the local and expert knowledge to stay local, contribute to the economy and remain in their place of birth to rear their own children and keep what has fundamentally been a local industry going?
Perhaps Julie James MS or First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford are best placed to answer those questions. Mr Drakeford has said on the record that he wants to have dialogue and a cooperative way of working with the farming industry.
Social media has been full of complainers again, we do like a good moan in Wales. This time another climate change related scheme from Welsh Government in reducing the speed limit to 20mph. The logic behind the move is that slower speed saves lives and also cuts carbon emissions. Claims many on social media have been quick to challenge. An Increase in road rage, difficult to police, slower cars, more jams more carbon emissions are the claims.
Personally my champion idea for many years has been to make use of water for energy and to harness our rivers for storage and leisure. As always my disclaimer is that this is in my head and not some scientific research paper written by an eminent expert and so it may have some flaws.
The river Towy in Carmarthen is an example of a powerful tidal river. We have seen the floods caused when it surges on high tides after heavy rainfall.
My suggestion would be to create lagoons along the route of the river which could be utilised for leisure, kayaking, swimming, boat storage, fishing etc. The lagoons could be topped up by the incoming tidal flow, emptied in advance of wet weather ready to take the surge of water from a swollen river. If you add a turbine in the mix, which can generate electricity one could have a turbine servicing villages and towns along the river.
Laugharne is another prominent location to build a tidal lagoon. A much smaller scale than at Swansea but imagine the potential for tourism.The silt one sees or infill right up to the castle could be dug out and used to create the banks supported by locally quarried rock.
Historically man/woman/all have been superb in adapting to whatever nature throws our way. Who was it that invented fire? Climate change is a bigger challenge and for an old former Friends of the Earth Rainbow Warrior like me, I believe there has to be a common sense balance between us as humans and our needs, our psychological obsession with life and death snd self obsession/survival instinct and the passive needs of mother nature. There is no one stop solution and one has to take the masses along on the journey or suffer the consequences of a mass rebellion when the primitive instincts of our species tells us that it is now every man, woman and child for themselves.
The world is witnessing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects, according to a new report by leading climate change researchers. Perhaps instead of fossil fuels we need to look at that most abundant resource we have in Wales, WATER.