The Sustainable Party – Reasons why a new party is required

Elections in most democratic countries (including the UK) are largely decided on the basis of the voters’ views of each party’s policies on the growth rate of the economic “cake” as well as the equality of the shares of this “cake”. Clearly, political personalities and character traits also have a significant bearing.

In the UK, until the creation of the Sustainable Party, there was only one significant party which is focused on sustainability and Climate Change. Unfortunately, the Green Party has shown little interest in developing any policies which will support the overall growth of the economic “cake”. This is important, since the UK’s population is continuing to rise and GDP per person will decrease if the economy is not growing.

Currently, the impact of Climate Change on the quality of life in the UK is relatively insignificant on a national scale. We are experiencing an increased intensity and frequency of flooding, heat waves, storms / hurricanes, forest fires and droughts over increasing land areas. However, the overall impact is still insufficient to enable Climate Change to matter more to the majority of UK voters than their personal opportunities and financial position. The short-term financial impact in the UK is limited to increases in property insurance premiums for those regions which have been most affected by the effects of Climate Change.

Whilst the UK is still relatively unaffected by the effects of Climate Change, other countries are now starting to suffer quite severely. These countries include Australia, India, Bangladesh and many countries in Africa, South America, and southern Asia as well as parts of USA.

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased from 315 to 420 ppm since the 1960s and the annual rate of increase has increased from 0.6 to 2.6 ppm per annum decade average from 1960s to 2010s. The annual rate of increase is continuing to accelerate. The current CO2 concentration is one third higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years and the current rate of increase is faster than it has been at any time in human history.

There have been 5 mass extinctions (ranging from 75 to 96% of all species dead) in the past 450 million years. Only one of these mass extinctions (the one that killed the dinosaurs) involved an asteroid. The other 4 mass extinctions were caused by Climate Change. The worst mass extinction (96% of all species dead) occurred 250 million years ago when the planet warmed by 5 degrees Celsius.

Man-made CO2 emissions are still increasing at an accelerating rate and these man-made emissions are being supplemented by natural emissions. As the earth’s atmosphere is gradually becoming warmer, the frequency, intensity and total areas of peatland and forest fires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, desertification, toxic pollution clouds and hurricanes are increasing, the oceans are warming, and the ability of plants and trees to absorb CO2 is decreasing. Human-driven net deforestation combined with forest fires is also reducing the CO2 absorption capacity of the Earth.

Forest fires, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, and ocean warming are increasing the annual “natural” CO2 and methane emissions. Warming oceans result in more atmospheric water vapour and water vapour is also a greenhouse gas.

Methane is 35 times more effective than CO2 at absorbing heat energy and, consequently, exacerbating Climate Change. Beef cattle are a significant source of methane emissions, and the annual emission is growing as the global population and beef consumption per person continue to rise.

As voters we have a choice. We can continue to vote for parties which will continue to accelerate Climate Change, since the only party which is focused on addressing this issue is not simultaneously focused on the growth and distribution of the economic “cake” which is the highest priority for the majority of voters, or we can vote for a party that cares for both the environment and the economic growth critical to the future well-being of the nation's citizens.

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