We should be grateful to the Green Party for reminding us of the ongoing environmental damage caused by the Javelin Park incinerator (‘Javelin Park’, 23 December 2020) and the failings of the County Council. But the pollution from the incinerator is nothing compared to the still increasing levels of greenhouse gases being pumped out worldwide, to meet our insatiable demand for cheap goods and cheap food, which we suck into the UK from the developing world.

The poor and hard-up in the UK can’t be blamed for their choices. Poverty is structural: it is created by right-wing political choices over taxation and public services. The wealthy on the other hand do have a choice about what they buy, how they shop, what they consume. But we are all victims of a toxic system which it is now clear will destroy virtually all life on earth, probably within the next eighty years.

The government has been told by its own Climate Change Committee it has ‘failed to prepare for even the minimum climate risks faced,’ and that it must start considering the likelihood of 4 degrees of warming by the end of the century. That’s curtains: death for billions as huge swathes of the globe become uninhabitable and chaos for the rest as systems for transportation, power, communication and finance collapse.

Coronavirus has distracted world leaders from the real threat facing humanity. Not the virus, not overcrowding, but the failure of those leaders – whether in governments or corporations - to face and take the massive decisions necessary to address runaway global heating.

Our way of life here in the UK is coming to an end but our leaders won’t even begin to start the debate on how we prepare for this ending; how we avoid societal collapse and instead how we achieve transformation. These are the discussions we need to have internationally, nationally and also locally. This is what we need the County Council to grasp.

David Lambert