Responding to climate change
Sir, – At a recent award ceremony at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, former president Mary Robinson spoke about how to avert the disaster that is climate change (“Robinson becomes pescatarian”, News, February 6th).
She encouraged people to do our bit at a personal level.
While that’s admirable, there is no doubt that only governments have the clout to make a dent in the problem.
Unfortunately, legislatures have pursued policies in many cases that have made matters worse. Take just one example: subsidies for forestry have resulted in monoculture and clear-cutting. Such schemes in river catchment areas lead to soil erosion, silting and flooding downstream.
To reiterate, only governments have the levers to bring about a meaningful change. We need politicians to legislate diligently and enforce the regulations robustly.
Rinsing out food cans and taking them to the recycling centre in a diesel-powered car may make us feel good. But as caretakers of the planet for our grandchildren, leaving them a hollow legacy should not make us feel proud. – Yours, etc,