Sober reading

From George Monbiot, who argues the recent commitment, by the UK Secretary of State for the environment, to a stronger climate change bill is pathetic. This is because of the get-out clause of carbon trading that won’t do much to reduce emissions. His article began with a novel he read, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which he claims is the most significant environmental text ‘ever written’.

The only certain means of preventing runaway climate change is to cut emissions here and now. Who will persuade us to act? However strong the opposition parties’ policies appear to be, they cannot be sustained unless the voters move behind them. We won’t be prompted by the media. The BBC drops Planet Relief for fear of breaching its impartiality guidelines: heaven forbid that it should come out against mass death. But it broadcasts a programme – Top Gear – that puts a match to its guidelines every week, and now looks about as pertinent as the Black and White Minstrel Show. The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don’t offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, is hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.

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