Brexit has distracted us from the disaster awaiting us. A UN climate conference bid could be a perfect catalyst for change
Almost halfway through 2019, it has felt, sometimes, like a breakthrough year for climate action. Given the rapid emergence of social movements across the world calling for climate justice, this often previously sidelined issue has become a international conversation. But the harsh reality of the challenge at hand re-emerged as the “leader of the free world” attempted to position the United States – one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters – as clean on climate, in an extended exchange with Prince Charles during his state visit to the UK. To contextualise, this comes in the wake of an Orwellian rebranding of hydrocarbons as “freedom molecules” and “freedom gas” by the US energy department ahead of a major export drive.
Battlelines have been drawn around climate action in the US, with the Democratic primary campaign defined by candidates declaring their support for Green New Deal-style policies. Such is the strength of feeling that the issue has become a litmus test of contenders’ viability for the presidential nomination for 2020. With polling on such legislation indicating majority support among both Democrat and Republican voters, it’s clear that climate action can become a unifying issue as ordinary people seek solutions to the crisis, even as politicians of the right complain.
A strong current of concern around climate breakdown was evident among UK voters in the European elections