The UK at present is going into election fever. On the 12th December we vote to choose its new government that takes the country forward for the next 5 years.
Its a BIG 5 years for the UK and the planet.
I'm not going to tell you how to vote – that's your choice, and I am not going to mention Brexit
Firstly, I attended my local election hustings recently and only one candidate of the 5 mentioned cycling and cycling provision.
In March 2016, in the UK, cycling was set to receive £300million in funding over 5 years. That equates (outside of London) to just £1.38 per head of population. The Get Britain Cycling report suggested it should be £10 per head. Rising to £20
Why is £300 million not enough? Click here for The justification for investment are almost endless High Speed 2 – the rail link between the north and south.
With an estimated Department for Transport cost of £43 billion (and that’s a low estimate, the Institute of Economic Affairs suggested a total cost of £80 billion) HS2 is among the most expensive transport projects undertaken in the UK. Taking into account the lower estimate and dividing the current UK population of around 65.1 million that project alone will come in at around £660.50 per head. The £80 billion estimate? Only £1,228.87 a head.
In percentage terms and using the former estimate, cycling’s nationwide figure is just 0.2% of the spend on one railway line.
HS1 cost around £51.3 million per kilometre. Again starting at Covent Garden, you’d get roughly as far as Batter sea Park before you’ve exhausted the entire cost of the cycling budget. (As a side note, that’s a distance cycled in 23 minutes, says Google)
So if you are a cyclist, want to have a safer and more enjoyable cycling experience and want to see more cyclists on the road choose your electoral candidate based on what they will do for cycling.
Scientists say that average temperatures from 2010-2019 look set to make it the warmest decade on record. Provisional figures released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) suggest this year is on course to be the second or third warmest year ever. If those numbers hold, 2015-2019 would end up being the warmest five-year period in the record.
The WMO says this "exceptional" global heat is driven by greenhouse gas emissions.
The organisation's State of the Global Climate report for 2019 covers the year up to October, when the global mean temperature for the period was 1.1 degrees C above the "baseline" level in 1850.
Many parts of the world experienced unusual levels of warmth this year. South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania were warmer than the recent average, while many parts of North America were colder than usual.
Two major heat waves hit Europe in June and July this year, with a new national record of 46C set in France on 28 June. New national records were also set in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and the UK.
In Australia, the mean summer temperature was the highest on record by almost a degree. Wildfire activity in South America this year was the highest since 2010.
The WMO clearly links the record temperatures seen over the past decade to ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases, from human activities such as driving cars, cutting down forests and burning coal for energy.
You don't have to look far these days to watch, read or see the impact climate change is having on our world.
I'm old enough to remember the ring pull that used to be on canned drinks. They used to tear off and get dropped as litter. Individually there was little power to stop this, it had to come down from Government.
Government formulated a policy to force the manufacturers to come up with a different approach. Now the ring pull stays with the can. All but eliminating that problem.
CFCs in aerosols was another example of a problem that couldn't be solved individually. CFCs were destroying the essential Ozone layer that protects our planet from harmful radiation. The problem was presented to governments, Governments produced legislation, companies were forced to act, and now the ozone layer is returning back to its original levels.
A critical 12 months in the battle against rising temperatures begins in Madrid this week, as UN delegates gather for key talks. The 25th Conference of the Parties, or COP, will see negotiators from almost 200 countries in attendance. Ahead of the meeting the UN secretary general has warned that the world is at the point of no return.
António Guterres said the global response to date has been "utterly inadequate" The UN Environment Programme showed that there's a huge gap between the plans that governments currently have on the table to cut emissions and what's needed to keep under 1.5C.
Keeping to that guardrail will need a five-fold increase in the carbon cutting ambitions of countries.
Just last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that allowing temperatures to rise more than 1.5 degrees this century would have hugely damaging effects for human, plant and animal life across the planet.
As a society we need to do three things
Listen to the Science
Stop funding and promoting things that make the problem worse
Start funding and promoting things that solve the problem
I think we are all aware of the issues that face us globally, and I think we all try to do the right thing. Recycling things that can be recycled, Using bicycles when we can, Limiting plastics etc.
But the issues that face this planet NOW
need a government that is is going to make these issues a priority NOW,
that are going to spend the money required to Insulate homes, produce Cleaner energy and promote Cleaner transport.
See, no mention of Brexit!