We know what the UK government is doing, it’s spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on climate change measures. But will it make enough of a difference quickly enough?
Take for example the Atlantic Array – 240 wind turbines, each one up to 720 feet tall, which will sit in the Bristol Channel and deliver 1,200 megawatts of electricity.
That’s if the government can get the Array built – there is a strong protest group, Slay the Array, which argues that it will damage the tourist trade in north Devon to the tune of millions of pounds – and the area is much more suited to wave power anyway.
So, like so many of these large environmentally sensitive projects, action is slow and painful.
Looking at the wider picture, Professor Alan McKinnon, head of logistics at Kuhne Logistics University, argues: “Given atmospheric and ecological time lags, even if a dramatic de-carbonisation of human activity were to be achieved today, it could take many years for this to have a noticeable effect on global climate.”
In an article in the World Economic Forum’s “Outlook on the Logistics & Supply Chain Industry 2013”, he points out that it will be necessary to adapt logistical systems to the stresses of a climate changed world. And ominously, he adds: There is mounting evidence that these stresses will be greater than previously thought.”
McKinnon makes the case for a new branch of logistics research which he calls “adaptive logistics” to examine all the ways in which logistical systems will need to be modified over differing time-scales and geographies in response to climate change.
That begs the question, do we know enough about how climate change will affect logistical systems in the future?
It will be at least 2017 before the Atlantic Array comes into operation. The fact that such schemes take so long to make an impact on climate change only strengthens the case that McKinnon is making.