After years of avoiding the subject, our illustrious political leaders are now starting to talk about climate change. Here are their recent quotes, in light of the incessant floods in the UK:
David Cameron (Prime Minister, Conservatives): “Colleagues across the House can argue about whether that is linked to climate change or not. I very much suspect that it is”
“We can’t attribute any one event to climate change, but we know climate change is going to mean we have more events like this – more extreme weather events, more flooding, more storms. If there’s one thing we know about the effects of extreme weather, it’s that the costs – financial, human and other costs – of not acting are much greater than the costs of acting. It’s a totally false economy to say ‘Don’t act’. The Government’s got to realise this and it’s got to take the problem seriously.” Ed Milliband (Leader of the Opposition, Labour)
Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrats) – on the prospect of leaving Europe “We will not have the clout to lead in Europe and the world in the fight against climate change as we do right now”
“David Cameron hasn’t committed to serious, sustained action on climate change, which the Met Office tells us all the evidence points to as contributing to these extraordinary floods. It isn’t too late for the sadly laughably self-titled ‘greenest government ever’ to start to live up to its name“ Natalie Bennett (Leader, Green Party)
Nigel Farage (Leader, UKIP) dismissed climate change as the cause of the Somerset floods and said it was “just the weather”.
The most famous quote from recent days from this bunch was David Cameron saying the “money is no object” in dealing with the floods. Of course, he meant in conjunction with the immediate relief effort, but he wasn’t specific, and left himself open to questions as to whether he meant longer term measures for flood defences.
It would be cheaper long-term to reduce our carbon emissions rather than spend billions on making the country more resilient. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late for that.