IS China doing enough about climate change? Beijing definitely thinks so. As Chinese Vice-Minister Zhao Baige famously told the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks: "Because of the one-child policy, China has seen 400 million fewer births, which has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year."
I have to admit that I was pretty sold on climate change in the Kyoto days. I’ve somewhat cooled since then. It would be glib to say that the world has: scientists still don’t know what exactly is happening, or why. Non-scientists are completely in the dark.
But I’ve come round to the view expressed by a distinguished economist and Suffolk landowner whom I hailed at a party last night: ‘I’m not convinced that climate change is happening,’ he said, partly on the basis of the records that his own family have kept of rainfall since the Second World War (the average has remained pretty constant). ‘If it is happening, I’m not convinced that it is man-made. If it is happening and it’s also man-made, I’m not convinced there is very much that can be done about it. Rather than hobbling the economy, it would be better to spend the money generated by growth on mitigating the effects.’
It’s a great pity that my friend is no longer, as a hereditary peer, a member of the House of Lords. Wisdom like that is not in over-abundant supply at Westminster.
A new report based on scores of personal testimonies from refugees in Eastern Africa finds that climate change can make people more vulnerable and can also play a part in driving them into areas of conflict and ultimately across borders and into exile.