By Nick Lyth
The whole way through the 90’s, Noughties, and Teens, new reports have come from the IPCC, UK Government (Lord Stern), commentators like Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth, which is now getting on for 15 years old. These reports have all been unanimous in identifying the threat of global warming leading to climate change, and the likely consequences. They have all said, “you’ve got to do something now, or you’ll all be in trouble…”
We have ignored them. They have been cascaded down to become the preserve of lobby groups, protest movements, largely led by the educated classes. They have never penetrated the mass market, nor been recognised or supported by any kind of mass movement. Even 2019, the publication of the most damning IPCC report, the birth of the Extinction Rebellion, and the emergence of Greta Thunberg has changed little more than the media coverage and some token target reductions.
Government action across the world has been limp and lethargic. The hydro-carbon economy, that has done so much of the damage to cause global warming and consequent climate change, is alive and well and shows no signs of significant slow-down.
At least, not until now. This observation might have been true on 3rd March. On 3rd May, at the time of writing, it is not necessarily true.
“You’ve got to do something now, or you’ll be in trouble, and you ARE in trouble now.” Oh boy, are we in trouble! Not in the way we anticipated, with seas rising, floods overwhelming our great cities, wild fires destroying our rural areas, monsoon rains, destructive tornadoes. But with the tiniest of natural interventions taking us completely by surprise. A virus. We are as exposed to it now in 2020 as we were in 1347 when the Black Death took hold of our global population, reducing it by half. The measures we are taking are no more sophisticated now than they were then – isolation.
And so the global economy has ground to a halt in a way that is unprecedented in modern history. We are ALL in trouble now. The entire world is immeasurably poorer than it was, two months ago. The poor, who were always vulnerable, are bearing the brunt of the crisis, and will be victims as we emerge. Even the mortality rate in the UK is significantly higher among poor communities than among the more prosperous.
But, unlike the Black Death, the majority of us are still alive, and where there’s life, there’s hope. We have the chance now to work together to make a better future possible than the present we are living through. We have a chance of taking the steps required to ensure safe, healthy and sustained life by means of constructive measures to support our systems.
We require innovation to do it. This starts with the one, most important of all innovations, a vaccine against COVID-19. But this is only the start. We need innovations in all areas of resource use, water, food, energy, to make these life essentials available to all in a manner that can extend beyond current supplies, without further exploiting the planet. We need to find ways of maintaining the energy required by all communities for their health and well-being, without further damaging the ecosystem. We need to re-balance natural ecosystems so they can continue to function and provide us with the environment necessary for our continued existence. We need to reverse global warming.
In order to do these things, we need multiple, tiny and incremental changes through innovation; and we need vision to see why they are important; and we need help from Government to ensure regulation protects and stimulates this work, and does not resume the crazed path to hydro-carbon self-destruction that has characterised the last 30 years. Because, throughout this crisis, we cannot lose sight of the simple fact that climate change has not gone away. This remains the threat for all of us, around the globe.
Green Angel Syndicate is a champion of the innovations needed to recover and repair the world we need to support ourselves. We would like all the support we can get to make these happen, and happen fast, effectively and successfully.
Nick Lyth is Founder and Director of Green Angel Syndicate, the only angel investment syndicate in the UK specialising in the fight against Climate Change and Global Warming. For regular updates follow Green Angel Syndicate on LinkedIn and Twitter.