Wednesday 9 February 2011

Warming to the idea?

Recently, (Thrusday Feb 3rd 2011) the Western Morning News, a local paper to East Cornwall and West Devon ran a story on the how increasing temperature could affect the region.

The story ran with ‘West to become ‘the new Med’ by 2080’on the title page, a story that went on to document the increasing opportunities that will open up to what is traditionally a popular tourist destination, drier, warmer and longer summers and the opportunities to grow new crops (such as olives). The story did also run with the negative effects; but mainly as a sideline (floods – which have severely affected the region in the past and a decline in fish stocks are just two).

Interestingly, the paper also ran a story (on page 3, no less) about the risks to West Country rail links in a changing climate and the need to spend insane amounts of money to keep the route open; I’ll explain: for some reason Brunel decided to build his new railway to the west country along the sea, which provides a really nice introduction to the beautiful part of the world if travelling by train from pretty much anywhere in the UK.  However, as a result of rail cuts in the 1960 the 2 track route, which runs by the sea for about 13 miles and is open to storms takes all the rail passenger and freight traffic from West Devon and Cornwall – increasingly with more storms there are more cancellations.

Now, this seems a little odd to me; why separate the tourist / growing nice stuff article from the railway line costing lots to maintain article? Surely integrate it as part of the ‘bad things’ section? Is this indicative of the two minds people have with climate change; on one hand there are going to be benefits (warmer summers, olives in the back garden) but on the other, and more weighty in my opinion side there will be massive problems (large scale flooding, food price increases, increased desertification..... the list goes on). But these negatives effect’s won’t really effect the South West too greatly, when Boscatle suffered it’s disastrous flood, lasting 1 day 100 buildings were damaged, cars were swept away, but no-one died and two years later the village was functioning fairly well (I visited). The same thing can’t be said the potential floods in Bangladesh or Cyclones in the Far East. People, in order to care need to know  how it will affect them, and in our unfair world those that pollute (the West) are unlikely to be those who suffer the ramifications.