Jarvis Cocker saves the world

Invited to guest edit Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Jarvis Cocker launched into a passionate plea to government to take a less foot-dragging laissez-faire response to climate change:

A few months ago I went on a trip to the Arctic set up by an organisation called Cape
Farwell to see the effects of climate change at first hand. Whilst on
board we also went to lectures by scientists who told us, among other
things, what it was that individuals could do to try and help with the
biggest problem facing the world at this time, and that part I found
profoundly depressing because it basically came down to things like,
“Go and buy some energy changing light bulbs.”

I believe that the actions of individuals are important, it seemed to
me that the problem was so large and so profound that it would be nice
if we got a bit of help from somewhere else. If the only things that
would have the necessary impact would be to make radical changes to
things like food transportation, deforestation or air travel, it would
be nice to think that the government might help out with some
legislation designed to address those issues. And that’s why I got
depressed. Because non-interventionist laissez-faire free market
policies have been the order of the day for so long, why would they
change now?

Then I came home.

The thing about being on a boat in the middle of the arctic ocean is
there’s no telephone or wi-fi coverage. Whilst we’d been up there
observing one kind of meltdown, it seemed that another kind of meltdown
had been taking place in the world’s financial markets. In fact, we
came through Reykjavik airport on the day that Iceland basically went
bust, though none of us knew it at the time.

Banks were going under and a massive stock market collapse had
occurred. And lo and behold, one of the first things that followed was
a massive government intervention. And I thought, “Hang on, perhaps,
bizarrely, there’s a chink of light here. If the government is wiling
to intervene decisively in such a huge way in this area, maybe it would
intervene in another area – climate change – too.”

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