Report by Robert Hutchinson
We were very sad indeed to hear the news of Robert's sudden death at the end of September 2017 shortly after the publication of this pamphlet. Robert Hutchison was a distinguished campaigner, author and activist for the arts and the environment, and this essay is a testament to and legacy of his commitment, courage and clear thinking.
Time is the scarcest resource in facing up to climate change, which is both a global emergency and historic opportunity. It is an emergency because lives are being lost or destroyed by climate change and we are not on a path to reduce this loss of life. Unless the global emergency is fully recognised and acted upon, it will become increasingly difficult to take the opportunities arising from the ending of the fossil fuel age. It may still be within humanity’s collective capabilities to transform economies so that they work better for everyone, and within the carrying capacity of the planet; to reduce demand for energy while moving to healthier lifestyles; to develop communities and neighbourhoods that are convivial and mutually supportive; and to recognise that, along with the needs for clean water, decent housing, nutrition and education, human well-being is largely a product of building trust, of the quality of our empathy and solidarity and the co-operative use of our imaginative powers. The author argues that all self-respecting nations, the UK included, should see themselves as leaders towards a net zero carbon world. At present, on climate change, the UK government combines self-congratulation, disavowal, missed opportunities, incoherence and delay.