Ryeview – June 2007

A zero tolerance policy is needed to stop climate change

John Clark writes…

First published: June 2007 – Gazette & Herald

Climate change is either caused by humans or it is not. The majority of climate scientists believe it is. That doesn’t mean they are right. On the other hand, we must not assume they are wrong. What is certain is that we are using up the worlds limited fossil fuels. These two facts mean that we must not only reduce our fossil fuel use but we must convert to all renewable energy with zero carbon emissions.

With this background and the importance of the climate to the North York Moors National Park, I am very surprised at some of the narrow minded views of the National Park Authority (NYMNPA). Apparently the NYMNPA is opposed to ‘high impact renewable energy production in the park’. Andy Wilson (Chief Executive) claims that the starting point is the ‘importance of the National Park to the nation’. How is this going to be maintained if the changing climate destroys the vegetation of the park? The North York Dust Bowl National Park doesn’t have the same appeal.

He claims that ‘the intrinsic beauty’ must be maintained. I agree totally, but the only hope for this is for the whole of the NYMNPA to keep its vegetation. Andy Wilson claims that the Park Authority ‘does so much to help combat climate change’. The actions of the Authority do not support this. They are the opposite. Having read the Authority’s Proposed Local Development Framework and contributed to the consultation through the Liberal Party, I see no signs of the National Park heading towards, let alone achieving, zero carbon. I don’t recall the phrase ‘zero carbon’ being used at all. In fact the NYMNPA encourages the emission of greenhouse gases by its support for the Area Tourism Partnership. This is a body with the aim of encouraging ‘high spending tourists from greater distances’. This means that people are emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases and using more fossil fuels.

Andy Wilson describes the ‘wider picture’ as its own [NYMNPA] working practices and the Community Renewable Energy Project. These are fine but they are not the wider picture. They are minute compared with the effect of the Authority encouraging people to travel ‘out of season’, ‘more frequently’ and ‘greater distances’. The ‘wider picture’ is the total carbon footprint of the park. First, the North York Moors NPA must measure the whole of the ecological footprint resulting from its existence. It must then produce enough Renewable Energy within the park to reduce this to zero.

According to the Chair of the NYMNPA, the primary purpose of the National Parks is: ‘To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of their areas’. I believe one of the Authorities statements in its Management Plan is to ‘Preserve the future’. Wind turbines, however ugly or intrusive, can be taken down in the future. The biodiversity and beauty of the North York Moors will take a little longer to replace if we allow it to be destroyed by the climate.

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