After months of torrential downpours, high tides and storms, battered Britain will face a huge bill to get trains back on track, repair flood defences and mend our damaged roads.
The coalition can’t seem to make up their mind what extra resources will be made available to cash strapped councils. How awfully frustrating the government’s indecision must be for people displaced from their homes, farms or businesses.
Putting to one side the climate change sceptics, such as Tory grandee Lord Lawson there is at least consensus between the UK’s main political parties that climate change is a factor in determining extreme weather.
The question is what answers are the politicians coming up with?
The political right are floundering when it comes to getting to grips with carbon emissions and fight shy of state intervention.
The left leans towards greening our environment but it isn’t the top issue in any draft election policy I have seen. That may change in light of the winter of 2013–14, I hope so.
In the meantime our thirst for cheap imported food and clothing fuels the exploitation of our planet’s natural resources and its people.
There is one measure Britain could back along with all other EU states, the ‘Robin Hood Tax’. In the UK alone the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ would raise £20 billion annually just from taking a tiny amount from the profits of financial institutions.
Unfortunately even Labour need convincing. Labour’s main fear seems to be if the US doesn’t buy in and impose a financial transaction tax the UK will lose its place as a major finance centre.
The Robin Hood Tax campaign website addresses fears and sets out powerful arguments in favour of the UK instigating a financial transaction tax.
What has the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ got to do with climate change? The idea is that half the tax raised is invested in public services and the country’s infrastructure with the other half dedicated to international development that supports decent work, education, sanitation and access to clean water.
Right wing politicians are exploiting the weather crisis to attack the UK’s commitment to international development. This short sighted ‘playing to the galleries’ completely misses the point, namely that our food security is dependent on the health of our planet.
In the past people who saw beyond the orthodoxy that our earth was flat were mocked and worse. In the 21st century we have the advantage of scientific research. With all that science tells us about climate change, making our economy work differently is surely worth a go.