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Atta girl!

So we can't do much so it is not worth doing anything. What happened to look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. A doctrine I am sure Anne Widdecombe signs up to. We can't make a huge difference compared to China, India or the USA but we can do something.

We should be using low energy lightbulbs, not leaving appliances on standby but businesses should be turning off their lights as well.

Nuclear may be clean (although tell that to the Irish Sea around Sellafield) but what about the cost. Take into account the cost of decommissioning and it is hardly cost effective.

India, China and the USA are not our teachers.

As with the earlier article about your other hobby horse (the BBC), one has to ask - is this article news, commentary or opinion?

48% of Tory members recently agreed that unilateral action by UK consumers would quickly be overtaken by the actions of developing nations.

So presumably 52% (i.e. a majority of respondents) did not agree?

Thank heaven for the common sense of Ann Widdecombe on this issue! As the Renewable Energy Foundation was quoted as saying, we should remember that wind turbines are garden ornaments, not power stations.

Having recently been to China, I have never seen a place with so many lights blazing from buildings and hordings. Ann is right.

Common sense? - sounds like shes got her head stuck in the sand to me. Climate change is happening and we can either make it better or worse for oursleves and our children. China and India developing is a problem but they're certainly not going to "go green" unless we show the way first.

Saying a wind turbine isn't a power station is staing the obvious and showing a lack of vision. The difference comes when everyone has one, and everyone has a solar panel and everyone turns off their TV.

200 years today Britain banned the slave trade years in advance, sometimes decades in advance, of our competitors.

Slavery is still practiced in many developing nations. Let's re-legalise slavery immediately before our economy is damaged.

What about population growth? I remember 30 - 40 years ago we were being urged to set an example to the developing world by cutting our birth rate. And
we did, but the developing world didn't pay a great deal of attention to our good example. Now we're being told that we're short of young people and we need to import some of their surplus population.

Yours is not a proper comparison "Nasty Old Git".

Many slaves were immediately saved by Wilberforce's success. Unilateral action on climate change is however pointless.

Umbrella Man
You are mistaken - New Old Git makes an apposite comparison. The Quakors, Clarkson, Wilberforce and others when they started were told that it would damage Britains competitiveness and trade, that other countries would step in the breach. We can see now that their courage and willingness to take the first unilateral steps changed the world for the better.

When they started with the first petition in 1783, the UK didn't rule the waves, the United States had just got independence and lost that market.

Ann Widdecombe's comments depressed me. Her argument is the defeatist one that one person, one nation cannot make a difference. Might as well join the guys on the beach pinching cargo washed up from a stranded container ship because doesn't make a difference if you don't - you end up worse off without the free Pampers.

Either climate change is a threat or it isn't. Be honest if you believe either way and argue on that. Don't weasel the argument into "it doesn't matter if I waste because everyone else is" just come out and say you don't believe that human activity is worsening climate change therefore we might as well go on as we are. If you think it might be then refusing to take any personal responsibility is IMO hypocritical and selfish.

Well said Ted.

"Either climate change is a threat or it isn't."

Or maybe it is a threat, but it is a threat which is being greatly exaggerated,
and which in any case won't be significantly diminished by anything we do.

And maybe we could deal with the consequences of any climate change more effectively if we don't dissipate our limited resources - time, energy and money - on largely futile, some would say token, gestures towards trying to prevent it.

Ann is right. Also, is there anyone out there who may just consider the possibility that climate change is a natural phenomenon? Is has happened in the past.

I'm thinking of the logic in the Widdecombe argument which gains such editorial favour. Since we can't directly influence China to be more environmentally aware, we should either do nothing (because climate change is a nonscientific, leftwing myth - wasn't that last week's thesis?) or because technology will solve everything (were you to admit there's a problem to solve, which you sometimes don't) or because any pro-conservation activities we undertake (though you don't admit they would be good things) would be undermined by other people doing bad things (though you don't think anything bad will happen if they do them anyway).


Let's see. I can't stop those children on the bus throwing their stinking burger wrappers onto the floor. Should I dispose of my organic falafel brown paper wrapper likewise when I'm done with it? After all, there are loads more children than me, and loads more burger wrappers. Why don't I just buy a 4x4 and leave its engine running overnight, after all that's NOTHING compared to China.

As for Miss Widdecombe's "ironic" mention of windfarms: Building wind farms on fields isn't an example of irony in any way that I can understand. Many people find them objects of a strange and wonderful beauty - of course it would be hard to mention this in the pages of the Daily Express, with its scientifically trained expert staff - and I'm not sure that aesthetic superiority is good ground for the anti-environmentalists to attempt to claim in any case, since so much of what they sneer at is the puny attempts of little people like me to enjoy their life by being less cruel, more green, and all without any guarantee that our activities will change the geopolitical landmasses that are ChinaAndIndia.

I can't remember which one, but I remember being quite moved by a Margaret Drabble novel when I was young -- she has her character say that, in the end, all you can do is join the ranks of those of good intentions and willfully turn away from those of bad intentions, because it's not possible to change things dramatically. Interestingly there's a phrase I remember where the character says I don't mean that people are incapable of change, I'm not a despairing old Tory - I'm paraphrasing, it's decades since I read it ... I think those who write about the futility of UK, or indeed personal-led environmental actions being undertaken without being able to force change in ChinaAndIndia are (being logically incoherent since typically they are the same people who dismiss the entire issue, and are) missing the point, which I think is true on a human level, and therefore has political impact, that these matters - aesthetics and how you feel your actions fit with your intentions with respect to your home, your family, your neighbourhood, your country - are to many, many people important in and of themselves.

The so-called Modern Conservative is simply applying to the environment the flawed logic of CND: that others will lead where we follow. Why on earth should the Chinese care what we do? They couldn't care less especially if we effectively move yet more of our manufacturing industry to China by making it harder for UK manufacturers to compete. They will quite rightly thank us for our stupidity and they probably don't accept the theeory of man-made climate change anyway.

As for Ted's logic, there is nothing hypocritical or selfish about opposing essentially futile green gestures whose sole lasting effect is to put up people's taxes and curtail their freedoms.

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