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UK Daily Telegraph Editorial: It’s No Conspiracy Against Climate Science To Say We Must Adapt To Changing Weather

  • Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

Age-old methods of controlling our environment need to be retained

One consequence of climate change is a requirement to adapt in order to survive. If there are to be more floods or fires then people need to mitigate their impact or even prevent their happening. It is not to dispute the existence of climate change to argue that changes in environmental practices can exacerbate the effects it is having on our surroundings.

Yet to point out that dredging rivers or clearing away easily flammable undergrowth will help prevent floods or fires is to invite opprobrium from some as a “global warming denier”. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

Since we are told by campaigners that it is almost certainly too late to stop the warming of the planet it is incumbent upon them to encourage people living in vulnerable areas to take preventative measures. In particular they should desist from denouncing those who call for practical action to help control the damage.

In Australia, for instance, the bush fires that have raged for weeks are blamed on climate change and yet the country, which is hot and dry, is no stranger to such phenomena. It has been claimed by some that agencies failed to carry out tree clearances or the prescribed burning of at-risk undergrowth that should take place during less dangerous periods. However, those making such points have come under attack for allegedly seeking to distract attention from Australia’s political arguments over carbon emissions as one of the world’s largest coal producers.

Similar controversy occurred in America two years ago when wild fires raged through California, whose forests regularly see such conflagrations as part of the natural cycle. So polarised has the debate become in the US that environmentalists were blamed for preventing the sort of forest management that helped reduce the fire risk.

Here, recent inundations have been partly attributed to a failure to dredge rivers and other waterways, leaving homes built on flood plains especially vulnerable. There have also been disputes over the annual burning of grouse moors, with green campaigners anxious to stop it while owners say that it is necessary to manage the land.

It is not a conspiracy against climate change science to propose that age-old methods of controlling our environment need to be retained. In future, as it gets wetter and warmer or hotter and drier they will be needed more than ever.

Full editorial & comments (£)