Many of our regular readers may remember one of my first articles just before COP 26 relating our experience of our home being flooded in October 2021.
Well first the personal journey:
The buildings insurers acted quickly, installing dehumidifiers, taking furniture into storage and removing flooring and our kitchen. We set up a temporary kitchen in our living room and struggled to stay at home, as flooding to other homes locally meant no temporary accommodation was available nearby. By the beginning of December the house was declared dry, and we were allowed to start reinstatement work.
Here the problems began as local contractors were busy, and we were quoted start dates of February 2022. In the end we decided the only way forward was to carry out the work ourselves and, with the help of friends and a lot of hard work, managed to get the kitchen reinstated by Christmas.
Bearing in mind our traumatic experience, we worked on the house with a view to mitigating future flood damage, raising floor levels between 50 and 100 millimetres, introducing a damp proof membrane, knocking a hole through the garden wall that had caused flood waters to back up and building a small wall to stop water surrounding the house again.
We were lucky to be insured and our buildings insurance acted helpfully and quickly. Although we were insured with one company, it turned out they had given the contents insurance to another company who failed to act very quickly at all. After numerous phone calls and e-mails we eventually got a settlement.
The insurance story does not end there though; when our renewal came through, the premium had risen from £129 to £437 per year.
I then checked out the Government scheme to help with insurance for previously flooded homes and was declined by all the companies as we had been flooded!
Eventually we found insurance on a comparison site at £344, nearly 3 times our original premium.
So here we are. A year after our experience of climate change did COP 26 change anything?
This year we have seen severe flooding, droughts, multiple wildfires, damaging storms and record high temperatures in many countries including the UK. These are almost becoming the new normal.
Elan valley reservoir 2022 – the water level is normally above the bottom 3 windows.
Even now the UK is experiencing extremely mild unseasonal weather and I still have tomatoes and peppers growing in my polytunnel.
We have ongoing wars in several countries including Ukraine, and most of us will be aware of the huge carbon footprint that these generate as just one event demonstrates: The explosions that caused damage to the Nord stream pipelines have been described as a catastrophic environmental event, 300,000 metric tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, was released.
Each year, governments around the world continue to pour around half a trillion dollars into artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels — more than triple the amount renewables receive.
Our new Prime Minister was initially unclear about whether to attend COP27 and given the fact that his last leadership bid was funded by Finance, property and mining companies his commitment to reducing CO2 emissions could be compromised.
Our newly appointed Environment minister, Theresa Coffey, who is attending, has said on Sky News we can solve the problems by all having reusable coffee cups.
Alok Sharma president of COP26 has lost his cabinet position.
In the US, as Biden faces the midterms, his desire to placate a nation addicted to cheap fossil fuels is unlikely to result in much change in one of the biggest polluting nations per capita in the world.
Are these people really committed to the future of life on this planet? On this evidence it looks doubtful.
Is there any good news?
Well Daniel Williams, @DWilliams8695 on Twitter, has some answers in his thread about energy transition.
Renewables are growing globally, whilst fossil fuel use is shrinking.
A number of crises since 2019, including the war in Ukraine, have had some positive impacts as Europe scrambles to disengage itself from cheap Russian gas imports and become energy secure (Note: I could not find statistics for any change in UK energy policy).
We have also seen the rise of demonstrations by various groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just stop Oil, which have raised the public awareness of climate change and have helped it into the mainstream media dialogue.
The UN Climate Report earlier this year tells us: “It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees”.
Will the world listen?
Or will the powerful fossil fuel lobbies and large corporations who seek evermore growth win the day, with the inevitably of climate breakdown, mass starvation, as land becomes unusable for agriculture, and our seas becoming unable to support their ecosystems, resulting in mass migration as people struggle to survive?
My pinned tweet is this:
Let us all hope our politicians and business leaders answer our call soon.