Man-made Climate Change is the result of millions of actions, by millions of people, all over the world, over 250 years. It's going to get worse, we can't stop it or even slow it in the short term. The forces that shape Earth's climate are just on too big a scale, for human intervention to make any difference over our lifetime. It doesn't matter if millions of us switch from petrol to electric cars today; or if we become zero-emission by 2025 - even if we do zero-emission in 2020 - it's all for nothing, because next week China and India will open another 20 coal-fired power stations. The increase in their emissions, more than makes up for all the cuts we make. We're among the world's best in cutting emissions - we've cut them 40% - it hasn't stopped global emissions from rising because of the big polluters like China and the USA.
We have to manage climate change, make the most of the plus side - large areas of the Northern Hemisphere which are now empty tundra - in Canada, Russia, Greenland - will become food producing zones. The downside, we need to plan for gradually rising sea levels around our coasts, docks in our ports will need changing for the higher tides. The Dutch have been reclaiming land from the sea for centuries - the nearest Mankind has ever come to "terraforming". We could do that in other areas. Yes, polar bears will become more endangered and possibly extinct because their habitat has changed. (That's been happening for millions of years, it's called evolution. Don't forget 99.99% of the world's extinctions happened before there were any humans on the planet - not our fault! )
Theresa May's 2040 target date for ending UK sales of petrol and diesel cars is a fantasy. It's just grandstanding, unworkable and meaningless - setting by law, an arbitrary date to make this happen. There's no plan from her, or anybody else, about how this will work in practice. If anything it will make pollution worse not better.
Let's say it's 31 December 2040 - and this 'law' kicks in. It becomes illegal to sell a new diesel or petrol vehicle. Next day, 1 January 2041, rich people will still be able to buy the same new car they could have bought the previous day - it'll just be made in the Rhineland instead of in the Midlands. These new cars will have the latest low-emission technology. Those of us who can't afford to buy abroad, will carry on using our existing car, which with age, become more and more polluting. Instead of new, we'll buy the more-polluting second-hand cars.
And what about all the lorries, which bring our food to the shops? And all the buses - all diesel. And the ambulances and fire engines? Where are the electric fire engines? And the electric HGV lorries? They don't exist.
Electric cars are clean but they're a niche market, only useful for about-town runs, as the range of one battery charge is so low - about 80 miles. (In fact electric vehicles aren't new - we've always had electric milk floats and fork-lift trucks). There's no electric lorries and no electric vehicles that can do long distances in one charge. There's no charging infrastructure to power such vehicles. And if there were the charging points - we haven't got the power generating capacity to supply the electricity. The batteries in electric cars are enormous and they wear out and need replacing. Where do we put the old ones? They won't fit in the bin. No-one's made any plans for this.
After VW got caught cheating the emission limits, motor manufacturers have cleaned up their act and the newest diesel and petrol vehicles are light years away from old vehicles, in terms of low emissions. Rather than set some arbitrary target date for ending car sales, it would be better reducing car journeys by investing big in public transport like urban trams, and timetable-free buses. And ban the school run by making primary schools offer places, giving preference to children whose parents agree to walk them to school.
Obviously where practicable, we need to drive electric, and create as much of our electricity as possible from renewables. But where it's NOT practicable - we need internal combustion engines.
All the parties are falling over backwards trying to satisfy Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg - one policy they're talking about is heavy taxation of Air Travel, maybe allowing one flight only per year. The Climate Change lobby obviously think everyone who flies more than once a year, is a wealthy tourist. What about family visits? Don't these people realise we live in a wired world, a large part of our population now has family in other countries and other continents . If you don't believe it, go down to Luton or Stansted airports for a couple of hours. Millions of EU citizens now live and work in the UK - this has only been made possible by the low-cost flights by Ryanair, Wizz Air and others, between Britain and Eastern Europe. These people need to visit family regularly - and that means flying regularly .
Big Business and the fashion industry have too much of a hold on our lives when it comes to clothes and home furnishings. Large numbers of us think we need to copy rich celebs like the Kardashians in all our clothes, furniture, curtains, blinds, lighting, and so on. We feel under pressure to buy new stuff every few months instead of making usable and wearable stuff last for several years, as it was in the days of our parents and grandparents. The problem is that it's not too expensive to do this - nearly all these consumer goods are made in the far east. Their factories are running 24/7 to supply all the retailer outlets here. But it's using up resource in trees and other non-renewable sources.
We are under constant pressure to bin perfectly good clothes, furniture, and household items and replace them with new. However this lifestyle is unsustainable for the planet. The perfect example of this, is when we recently needed to clean our living room curtains. We found the cost of dry-cleaning them, was higher than the cost of buying a new set of curtains in the local shopping mall. This absurd state of affairs is because our own service sector is crippled by high taxes, red tape, EU rules, insurance costs and business rates. But consumer goods, all from the Far Esat and sometimes made by children - are on sale very cheaply. It's the same when more or less anything needs repairing - shoes, clothes, furniture, whatever. It's nearly always cheaper to bin the old, and buy new. MAINSTREAM policy would be to try and reverse this trend.
We pay huge amounts of council tax to get our bins emptied but the existing system is not working. It needs us to maintain a parade of different-coloured bins outside - green, blue, brown, purple whatever - and do all the sorting ourselves. This is fine for the rich in detached houses and mansions - like most of our politicians . But for terraced streets, or blocks of flats like in Glasgow - this doesn't work. Pavements are blocked, mothers with pushchairs and blind people can't get past. Some inner-city councils make residents put food rubbish out in plastic bags early in the morning. Seagulls and rats rip the bags open, so people stepping out of their houses to go to work, find themselves walking in a pile of garbage. That's what EU recycling 'rules' have done to us. We're back in the 17th century, when you just chucked all your waste out of your window and hoped for the best.
Even with the plethora of different-colour bins the EU has forced on us, there's still no 'correct' bin for such common everyday items we need to throw away, such as: dead lightbulbs, used batteries, empty ball-points, disposable razors, used sanitary items, empty spray-cans, empty paint tins, toothpaste tubes, date-expired tinned food still in the tin, handwash siphons, and so on. None of these are allowed in any of the blue, green, purple, brown, whatever bins. Obviously if we were staying in the EU and had to keep following their mental recycling diktats, we'd end up with fifty or sixty different bins outside each house. Thank God we're out of it in a few months - we can make our OWN laws and get back to one bin.
Then when our refuse gets to the depot - to avoid EU rules and fines, we pay yet MORE tax to send the waste on ships to China - where it just gets dumped in a landfill anyway - so no help here for the Planet, just higher taxes for our citizens - and private companies and shipowners make a profit out of shipping our waste over to the Chinese landfill sites. Then in the one week in the year when households have twice the amount of rubbish (Christmas) - the binmen make LESS collections instead of MORE.
MAINSTREAM would re-design local council waste disposal: Refuse lorries would be smaller and lighter to fit better down our crowded urban streets. All households would get three collections every two weeks - 78 collections per year, plus an EXTRA collection after the Christmas / New Year holiday, to get all those empty bottles, boxes, turkey left-overs etc. There should be ONE bin only, with all waste sorting done by council workers at the recycling depot. Refuse collections to suit the householder - not to suit the politicians here and in Brussels.
As for large or heavy items such as car batteries, old computers, etc - we're actually legally obliged to take these to the tip! Unbelievable discrimination against people without cars. What are they supposed to do - get on a bus with their old lawn-mowers and car batteries in a carrier bag? Let's get back to "Council collecting - not self-collecting".
We'd also outlaw all single-use products not with a medical purpose; such as: fruit-shoots & similar bottled drinks; single-use cameras; single-use gaslighters and cigarette lighters. Even ball-point pens - the most ubiquitous writing-tool on the planet - are single-use. Maybe we should be looking at the viability of making these re-fillable?
For one hundredth of the cost of HS2, we could make the existing railway work
much better, for instance by lengthening all station platforms to allow all
trains to be ten coaches long. HS2 is a disaster - quite apart
from the amount of new land (now very scarce in our overcrowded island) taken
up, the line is a "niche" railway. YES It will make the London to
Birminham journey far quicker - but hello! Rail journeys between London
and Birmingham are a tiny fraction of all rail journeys made. HS2 will
do nothing to improve the vast majority of rail journeys - in fact the opposite,
as it will drain away resources from all the other lines. ** STOP PRESS** As
the recent snowy winter showed, it's the EXISTING rail network which needs investment:
heating on all the points so they don't freeze up.
HS2 is a disaster - quite apart from the amount of new land (now very scarce in our overcrowded island) taken up, the line is a "niche" railway. YES It will make the London to Birminham journey far quicker - but hello! Rail journeys between London and Birmingham are a tiny fraction of all rail journeys made. HS2 will do nothing to improve the vast majority of rail journeys - in fact the opposite, as it will drain away resources from all the other lines. ** STOP PRESS** As the recent snowy winter showed, it's the EXISTING rail network which needs investment: heating on all the points so they don't freeze up.
Scrap HS2 NOW - no compensation for any preparation work already done
Scrap the 'Oxford to Cambridge Expressway' - a similar vanity project
Use a tiny fraction of the money saved, to improve existing transport infrastructure
We're turning into a TREE-FREE country. Like Iceland, or the Shetlands. It's not because our climate is too cold, or the soil too thin, for trees. It's because of the environmental vandalism which gets worse each year - to cut down as many trees as possible, because they're in the way of 'development'. And when the anti-tree nazis plant a new 'replacement' tree instead, they plant fast-growing conifers to replace slow-growing deciduous trees like elms and oaks (which are far more effective at absorbing carbon). The anti-tree crusade is led by Network Rail (state-owned), with their mental desctruction of every single tree anywhere near a railway track. They've felled millions of trees. They started this off in Scotland in 2016, and then moved the chainsaws and diggers down into England. (Of course, the politicians only noticed when the destruction reached the South of England - as you'd expect.)
Building developers in the old days, built new houses around existing trees - giving the new homes a ready-made old tree in their garden or in the road. Today's builders don't bother with that, they just build over the trees to cram as many houses as possible into the area - that way they make more profit.
MAINSTREAM's green legislation would include the total ban on green belt building, and stricter protection of all trees. We'd make building on green belt land a criminal offence, with a new iconic "Lewis Silkin Law", commemorating the minister who way back in 1947, realised we needed green belts defined in law "the lungs of our towns and cities".
Mainstream would de-fragment the New Forest and similar national parks by closing some main roads which cut these forests in two. And the M40 cutting which bisects a nature reserve in the Chilterns, would be made into a tunnel with a seamless chalk land surface overhead (which is what they should have done in the first place). And of course - we'd abandon Cameron's pet HS2 rail link.
Why do we continue the ritual of changing the clocks twice a year? Every March, we put them forward. In October, back they go again. It costs millions; causes confusion for Airlines and railway-timetables. And there's no need !
You can't alter the number of hours of daylight - that's down to the sun. If vested interests such as farming and industry, need to make the most of the daylight hours - they should get out of bed earlier, not expect the rest of us to change the clocks. The standard working-day in offices should be "8 to 4" instead of "9 to 5".
As far as schoolchildren are concerned, the answer's even simpler ! Change the school hours to give a shorter school-day in the winter. School in the winter, for small children: 10 am to 2 pm. That way, no child in Britain ever again needs to go to school in the dark. We make up the lost hours, by having a longer school day in the summer; or by shorter holidays.
Some politicians want us to go the other way - and keep the clocks permanently one hour late "to be the same as Europe". There's no economic rationale for all Europe to have the same time-zone. The U.S.A. has 6 time-zones and manages quite happily. The fact is that the sun rises over Portugal in the west of Europe, 3 hours after it rises in the east of Poland . MAINSTREAM would end the clock-changing ritual for ever and leave our country's time permanently at GMT. (Hopefully, other countries too would realise the stupidity of changing the clocks, and leave theirs unchanged as well).
MAINSTREAM would end the controversial practice of re-cycling houshold waste water, back to be next week's drinking water in our taps. Yes - this actually happens, disgusting as it may seem. It's cheaper for the water companies to do this, but it's impossible to totally clean the waste water and some chemicals and toxins - deriving from human waste and anything else that's put down the toilet - endure, and go back into our tap water. Mainstream - as part of re-nationalising water supply - would end this practice. Water supply and sewerage treatment would not be allowed to share the same site. Drinking water supply would have to come from rainwater reservoirs or underground aquifers only. Treated water derived from sewage, would be flushed into rivers or the sea, or could be supplied to industry for non-drinking uses.
Mainstream would also legislate to end the use af any 'medicinal' additives such as fluoride, etc in drinking water. If users need these health aids, they should take them separately, not force all customers to drink them in our tap water.
There's a conservation crisis with rare species of snakes, reptiles, birds and mammals, caused by the trade in exotic pets being sent from tropical countries to Europe. Endangered species are going extinct - the problem is the huge numbers of animals involved. The financial motives for poor people in the Far East, Africa and Latin America, mean they don't differentiate between rare species and common ones - they collect up everything that moves. They pack them into crates for shipping over here - it's reckoned that 90% of them die in transit. Then the survivors are sold, either in pet shops or more commonly, on e-bay; so they can end up being someone's 'exotic pet' to show off.
Then when unwanted or escaped animals get out into our countryside, they cause a big problem living in habitats where they don't belong. These so-called 'invasive species' are an ecological disaster, here as in other developed countries. So the exotic pet trade is a conservation disaster - both in the countries of origin - and here when they get imported.
MAINSTREAM would end this trade by a total ban on their import and sale. If people want to see and learn about rare animals, they should go to a zoo. Pet shops would be restricted to selling only 'traditional' family pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits, budgies, parrots, hamsters and guinea pigs.
For a hundred years there's been a legal minimum temparature in offices and factories. In offices especially, this is no longer needed because offices have loads of computers which act as heaters keeping temperatures warm. That's why it's important to switch unused equipment off at night - otherwise, workers come in to a greenhouse sauna in the morning. Now we need a MAXIMUM temperature by law. Obviously this would be too cold for some people, but all they have to do is put a woolly on. If I'm too hot at work - I can't take my shirt off, like I'm on the beach.
At times we get the situation that the office is too hot, so we have the AC on to counteract this. We're spending money - and electricity - heating the office up, then more electricity cooling it down. The 'Green' solution would be to open the window and let some cool air in - but all modern workplaces have sealed windows, so-called 'climate control'. Mainstream wants all new workplaces to have solar panels on the roof - and all new offices to have opening windows. That's the Green solution. (And all computer equipment switched off at night BY LAW).