ONE of the many good questions people ask environmentalists is why we talk of an emergency when the problems began a long time ago and are gradually getting worse.

The answer is pretty simple. The timescale we have in which we can act to prevent extreme damage is now so short that we have to treat the situation as a serious emergency.

In Yorkshire we have seen horrible floods happening with remarkable frequency in recent years. People in locations as varied as Hebden Bridge, Richmondshire or the Don Valley have direct personal experience of the damage caused by a more unstable climate.

Further afield we have seen large parts of California and Australia burn and 40 degree plus temperature records broken in Siberia whilst Arctic Sea Ice is at record low levels.

Again. The impact of this on real lives of real people right now is serious. Can we really cope with the problems getting worse every year for 30 years before we move away from reliance on dirty fossilised technologies?

Environmental problems have a nasty habit of starting a long way away but impacting very directly and very unpleasantly on our everyday lives.

The pandemic we are all suffering began because of mistreatment of wildlife on the other side of the globe when live animals that had never met in nature were placed in cages next to each other in close proximity to people.

Excessive use of air travel then moved the disease rapidly and easily across the planet. Environmentalists long warned of the risk. Just as we have been warning that cutting down rain forests to put cheaper palm oil into our biscuits exposes humans to contact with different species of bats and their pandemics.

Locally there is so much we can easily do to help. Eating seasonally is a cheap and easy way to cut pressure on the environment and help local farmers.

Subsidising better insulation of homes cuts fuel bills whilst significantly cutting fossil fuel consumption. That helps the less well off even more than the wealthy.

Above all we need to invest seriously in getting the UK in general and our locality in particular at the forefront of the low carbon technologies of the future.

If we want to help preserve the incomes of ordinary working people and their families then the single most effective way is to invest in Green technology instead of trying to cling on to fossilised ways of doing things and suffering an inevitable economic decline.

Each year we get increasing evidence of climate disasters happening faster and harder than even the most alarmist models predicted.

Each year governments around the world fail to act at the speed that even the most timid experts advise. How else can we reasonably describe the resulting unfolding disaster than as an emergency of increasing pressing urgency?

Cllr Andy Brown

Green Party