Now is the time to start taking climate change seriously
A reader-submitted article from the Mail's First Person series ...
THE weather is back in the news again and with the snow comes renewed fears of flooding.
Memories of Hull's devastating floods in 2007 hang in the air.
Burton Fleming, near Bridlington, was recently submerged for weeks on end.
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Last year was wet. Really wet. And in the same year that swathes of England were declared drought areas.
Such "extreme" weather will become the norm if the climate continues to change, for the worse, over the next century.
This long-term view often goes amiss in the reporting of our weather though, as does the cause behind the changes – greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 2009, when world leaders met in Copenhagen for a damp squib of a global summit, climate change has seemingly disappeared from the collective conscience.
The "greenest government ever" is conspicuous by its absence, doing little of note to mitigate climate change, with ministers publicly at odds with each other on wind farm policy.
Similarly, across the pond, last year's presidential candidates couldn't bring themselves to seriously broach the topic, despite the US being responsible for a huge share of the world's carbon emissions.
Closer to home though, climate change, or renewable technology at least, remains on the lips of many residents in Hull and the East Riding, though the two views can be at odds with each other.
In the former, big plans are afoot to make Hull a hub of green industry, with a sorely needed wind turbine factory on the banks of the Humber looking ever more likely.
In the East Riding, wind farm applications have flown in across the county, prompting vocal complaints from locals who have organised themselves to oppose the various schemes.
One past battleground focused on Burton Fleming, the same village that found itself under water recently.
About two years ago, residents in and around the village campaigned against proposals for turbines nearby, with some saying the magnificent views would be spoiled.
It is a cruel irony that those views are now rather soggy.
As applications spread, David Hockney even entered the debate, pining for the beauty of the Wolds.
He must have forgotten that as you crest the hills to the west of Warter, subject of his most famous recent work, the horizon is blighted by the power stations at Drax, Ferrybridge and Eggborough.
Often debates around wind turbines miss a crucial point though – what is really needed is wide behaviour change.
Simply switching the ways we generate electricity, for example, is not enough.
To maintain current demand, we would need turbines everywhere, alongside lots of tidal, solar and probably some nuclear.
It is our lifestyles that are unsustainable and this is uncomfortable to comprehend.
If we wish to avoid future extreme weather, then we must start taking climate change seriously.
I hope the people of East Yorkshire, with their peculiar links to green issues, are among the first to take action.
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