In three weeks, the world will turn its attention to the COP26 event in Glasgow.

It’s probably the most important meeting the world has seen for some years for the simple reason that it is now estimated that we have about 10 years to turn around the relentless climb in global temperatures that we have seen since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Sadly, I’m not optimistic about a positive outcome from the COP. Countries have tended to look after their own interests in the past and there has been a collective failure to do something to secure this planet for future generations.

We keep on burning oil and gas and we keep on cutting down trees.

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The current gas and petrol crises are an insight of what we can expect in the future. The price of both commodities is controlled by a handful of producers. Countries such as the UK that can’t produce enough of either are particularly vulnerable.

There are few energy deals available on the price comparison websites at the moment. My tariff ran out at the end of the month and I’ve found that the single variable tariff, which is the most expensive in normal times, is now actually the cheapest on the market.

The sensible response to this would be to increase the supply of energy from renewable sources rather than perpetuate the over-reliance on gas that we have currently.

Some 80% of homes are heated by gas and about half of our electricity is generated by it, mostly from overseas supplies.

Astonishingly, the response of some has been to demand more exploration, including fracking. It’s a bit like a heavy drinker deciding that the answer to their problem is just to drink more.

We have in the Bristol Channel one of the most powerful tidal energy resources on earth. Yet nothing has been done to harness it.

The National Wales: Artist's impression issued by Tidal Lagoon Power of a six-mile sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity at Swansea Bay. The UK government refused to back a "world first"Artist's impression issued by Tidal Lagoon Power of a six-mile sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity at Swansea Bay. The UK government refused to back a "world first"

The UK government rejected the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon largely because it was, well, a bit too new for it. It then compounded that by scuppering Wylfa B as well, destroying 600 jobs in Anglesey in the nuclear industry.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

On energy, it’s the UK government that has the powers because it controls the price it's willing to pay for new installations. It’s time for it to do more.

A lack of affordable energy will also hamper the rollout of electric cars. It’s well accepted that we will need more energy to power these cars, as well as the grid infrastructure to carry it.

This power must surely be generated by renewable resources otherwise there’s little point making the change.

The National Wales: WylfaWylfa

Yet on top of the decisions on the lagoon and Wylfa, the UK government has also removed subsidies for solar panels and onshore wind and the support system for hydro energy is unclear. It’s a hugely muddled approach.

There is potential though for more offshore wind, particularly with floating turbines but that again requires government investment to improve port infrastructure.

As more and more people realise the scale of the problems we face, there are still some politicians who fail to recognise them.

Such politicians seem to see human beings as giant locusts. We destroy, move on and destroy again. The answer to environmental degradation is to cause some more.

It’s progress for these people to remove rainforest and replace it with soy and cattle. Unspoilt wilderness must be brought to heel and put to profitable use in their minds.


No better example of this can be found in the deforestation of large areas of land in South America and Asia, not just for farming but for palm oil production.

Habitats are lost, people lose connection with their land and the world loses part of its vital mechanism for capturing carbon dioxide and creating oxygen.

Reforestation is important through working with local communities to provide trees to shade coffee plants, to provide a sustainable source of fuel and to provide habitats for bees that provide people with a source of income through selling honey.

I’ve seen all of these things being done by Size of Wales, the charity that I chair, in Uganda. But we also need to make sure trees aren’t cut down in huge numbers in the first place.

We need to rethink the way we live. I’m not saying people should never drive or fly but let’s improve the alternatives, so people have better choices and are nor forced into doing either.

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We don’t, for example, have a high-speed train network in the UK. Instead, ours are slower and more expensive.

We can think about what we buy to make sure that we’re not contributing to deforestation. That’s not as easy as you might think as you have to read the ingredient list of many products to judge whether they’re sustainable. We can even move our steel industry towards using more scrap and less coke and ironstone to make steel.

What we can’t do, however, is nothing.

These times are key in determining the world’s future. Are we up to the challenge?

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