Global wealth & climate change. How the worlds wealthy are being sought out to invest in Earths ecological future.
As Climate Scientists write to billionaires & wealthy philanthropic charitable organisations to ask for investment in protecting the environment & the climate; we are forced to consider the impact that personal global wealth could have on climate change. We further reflect on how our political system’s seeming lack of active funding (as perceived by the public), has forced groups of individuals to ask posing & pertinent questions about the UK’s lack of active action in the face of Climate Change.
The 11 signatories of the letter sent to wealthy billionaires & charitable organisations, has been signed by distinguished academics which include the physicist Myles Allen from Oxford; the chemist Joanna Haigh from Imperial College; the psychologist Lorraine Whitmarsh from Cardiff University & Sir David King, former government chief scientist.
Climate Scientists have openly shared their concern that the investment at government level, does not reflect the reality of the advancement of climate change & the direct impact this will have on our communities.
Brexit having overshadowed so many other parliamentary subjects over the past 2 ½ years, has lead many people to believe that climate change has been side-lined as a subject & the governments Clean Growth & environmental polices are not receiving the attention they deserve or the action they propose.
The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP’s, recent statement “We have not shied away from our responsibility. That is why, after the publication of the chilling Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5° C report, we were the first industrial economy to ask our Committee on Climate Change for advice on our long-term targets, and particularly a net zero target “ (2) has come under scrutiny & condemnation by other members of the house. (23.04.19)
Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, challenged Claire Perry MP over her statement of facts, citing great disparities between what has been reported & what had actually been acted upon. “Even where targets are set, there is a record of failure. The woodland cover target calls for 5,000 hectares of new plantation every year, so why is the rate so far only 1,500 hectares—less than a third? Has the Minister examined the work of Professor Ian Bateman on the differential natural capital values of such plantation depending on its location in relation to urban areas? (2) (23.04.19)
Earlier this year when thousands of school students, inspired by the ‘Climate Strike’ action of Greta Thunberg, took to the streets to protest about their dismay at a lack of action by the Government to protect their futures; the message from No 10 condemned their actions, citing that they should have been in class & were acting truant!
However, inspired by their action, Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon & Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion secured a Climate Change discussion in the House of Commons, which was disappointingly only attended by a small handful of politicians. It was then revealed that this discussion was the first time Climate Change had been directly addressed in the House of commons in over two years.
Therefore, is it any wonder that some of our most esteemed academics & scientists have been incensed to pen a letter to some of our wealthiest members of our society, to appeal to them to help fill in the gaps they feel are not being filled by government funding?
Dr Joe Smith, director of the Royal Geographical Society, told us: “There has long been under-investment in environmental issues, and especially climate change, by philanthropists. This reflects, in part, that the remit of many charities, trusts and foundations was set decades ago.” (1)
One such example of how a human made disaster can incense those of wealth to act, was the aftermath of the devastating fire at Notre Dame. We are all aware that within 24 hours of Notre Dame being badly damaged by fire, over a billion euros had been raised by wealthy billionaires & multinational companies.
The out-pouring of condemnation of this act was felt throughout social media platforms & the media alike, as people were angered that in the face of advanced climate change, one historical building had generated such a vast monetary donation pool in such a short space of time. Questions were being asked that if the rich & wealthy in France & beyond could generate millions of euro’s overnight for one historical landmark, what could their accumulated wealth & investment do in the fight against advanced climate change?
Written by Katy-Jane Mason on behalf of Dolphin N2.