I followed the democratic process yesterday and met with Siobhan Baillie at her Nailsworth drop-in surgery, to discuss her government’s Bill to issue over 100 new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

It was no surprise to me that she said she plans to vote for this Bill. What did surprise me was that she didn’t even begin to answer my question: how does she square voting for new oil and gas exploitation with the scientific consensus that globally we cannot begin any new fossil fuel extraction if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change? The IPCC (international climate science group), the International Energy Agency (set up by the oil industry!) and the government’s own Climate Change Committee are unanimous on this.

She says she’s concerned, but when I brought her back to the same question she offered no acknowledgement of the dire warnings from the scientific community, or her response to them. Yes, she wants more electric vehicle charging points, and more investment in the National Grid to enable more renewables. But those useful and necessary things are like moving the deckchairs on the Titanic - we’re still heading straight for the iceberg of climate change if we continue to ignore the physics.


I am so sad that our leaders cannot find motivation beyond the short-term money-oriented culture that dominates the world. Most ordinary people want a world based on human values, and want governments to protect us from threats such as climate change. Is it any wonder, with elected representatives like Ms Baillie, that climate activists feel the need to break the law to try to bring the change that we all need?

Bill Roberts