HEATHER Robinson, Letters March 13, highlights the challenges that we face in effectively tackling climate change in our throwaway society. It was sad that the mass rally in Bristol, which enthused so many young people, left such a mess. Large numbers of people on grass in the rain was not a good combination. Let’s hope they learn from this, since Greta Thunberg has inspired many young and old people to take effective action. To tackle our excess consumption in the throwaway society, the old mantra of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle remains sound guidance. This approach challenges the present wide-spread belief in continuing and ever expanding economic growth, which drives our increasing use of finite resources. The most damaging use of resources is the burning of fossil fuels which causes climate change. Until the world decides to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, extreme weather like the recent UK floods and the earlier Australian wild fires will become ever more frequent. The world’s carbon emissions continue to rise, while climate scientists urgently tell us that we have only about a decade to reduce these emissions to zero. Many economists are suggesting that, in order to achieve zero carbon emissions, the world as a whole will have to aim for zero economic growth. This may entail rich countries accepting negative growth while poor countries strive to bring all their people out of poverty. The implications for wealth distribution in rich countries like the UK would then be considerable. While the UK has economic growth, the poor can always be promised “jam tomorrow”, as wealth trickles down from the rich. The hollowness of this promise will be exposed when we have no overall economic growth and the pressure for real redistribution of wealth may become increasingly irresistible.

John Tomblin

Littlemoor Road