Why You Can’t Wait for Governments to Solve Climate Change

Written - July 2022

I learned a lot about Climate Change when I was writing The Green IT Guide (Apress, 2022) and it was very helpful in a way that at the time I was writing the book, the COP 26 climate summit was taking place in Glasgow, with world leaders trying to figure out ways to reduce carbon emissions, and become “net zero”, which is way of saying they emit no more carbon into the atmosphere each year than isn’t broken down naturally anyway.

One of the things I learned though, and I wrote this in the book, is that we simply cannot wait for our governments to tackle climate change, and seeing as you asked so nicely I’ll tell you why.  This is because governments can, in actuality, do very little.  They can switch a country’s energy generation from fossil fuels to renewables, but that’s about it, and even that isn’t something that’s entirely within the gift of a government.  Let me explain.

As I write this the UK has broken it’s record for the hottest ever day on record, and where I live in central France there are tens of thousands of hectares of forest on fire.  This isn’t just a one-off, as everybody is in agreement it will start to happen much more frequently from now on.  So will our governments do anything to prevent it?

What governments do is legislate, pass laws, impose taxes and tariffs, and tell businesses, corporations, public services, and individuals what they must themselves do.  This manifests itself in everything from imposing a charge on plastic shopping bags, and banning single-use plastics, to making recycling mandatory, and offering grants to insulate homes.

It’s true though that the actual grunt work always has to be done by others.  It’s individuals that need to insulate their houses and install solar panels and electric car charging points.  It’s businesses that need to reduce the emissions caused by their factories and offices, and it’s public sector and other organisations that have to implement flexible working, and travel and parking policies to reduce the number of cars spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

In the example of a switch to renewables or nuclear power, unless your electricity grid is entirely state owned, the electricity generating companies can, and are, getting on with all of this on their own, and not waiting for government.

So this brings us to the crux of my message today.  Don’t wait any longer for your government to decide what to do, as all they can do is mandate and suggest things you will need to do.  It’s individuals and businesses that have to do all the work so, instead, we all know what some of the things are that we can do, so let’s just get on with them.

This is overly simplistic you could say, as we might only know about small things we can do right now, and we need to wait for better advice.  That’s fair, but everybody doing a small thing now amounts to a whole lot of things happening, and rather than waiting until later, those small things will collectively make a huge difference right now, when we need it to the most.

So please, do what you can, no matter how small, take advice, listen to experts, and don’t wait for politicians any more as they’ve proven they’re simply not up to the job.

Learn how to make your computer and smartphone use more environmentally friendly and sustainable with Mike Halsey’s book “The Green IT Guide“, now on sale from Apress, Amazon, and all good book sellers.