Climate change should be the major issue of this election – Kenny MacAskill

Climate change is not being treated seriously enough by politicians. Picture: John Devlin
Climate change is not being treated seriously enough by politicians. Picture: John Devlin
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Yet another report, yet more doom and gloom. Our world’s not just warming up but burning up. Fires rage across the globe and their intensity’s growing. You’d think it would be the major issue of the election and the primary policy driver for governments, but sadly it’s not.

The recent United Nations report shows that the much-heralded Paris Accord of four years ago hasn’t been met. Not only have global greenhouse gas emissions increased, but the carbon footprint of the two largest polluters –China and the USA – has also grown.

Worse still President Trump has begun to pull his country out of the agreement altogether. Perhaps it’s appropriate that he plays Nero as Rome burns but it’s hardly helpful. It means that if and when agreement can be reached, the cuts to emissions will be require to be ever more severe. That will mean significant action by governments across the developed world that will impact on everyone’s lives.

READ MORE: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach record high, World Meteorological Organisation warns

Of course, for many it is a growing issue but it’s still not central to the election or our lives. A TV climate debate later this week isn’t even seeing the PM in the line-up. Other issues, especially Brexit, dominate.

But sooner rather than later it’ll be clear that neither the constitution nor the EU will matter if there isn’t a sustainable planet to live on. Perhaps, like some challengers for the US presidency, it’s just not the time. It’ll certainly be the issue for future elections, I just hope it’s not too late.

Kenny MacAskill is the SNP candidate for East Lothian