In the first place, after selling a storm, people suddenly stopped buying books on climate change. I think initially it was exciting and scary - but then it began to feel hopeless, and you don't want to read about hopelessness. Secondly, the financial crash and recession hit. You can protest as much as you like that our financial problems don't make climate change go away, but they certainly make it easy to ignore.
Here's the thing. I don't think we're going to do much about climate change until things get fairly dire for a sizeable chunk of the world. We're lucky in Europe that we won't get much of the really bad impacts at that stage. But a lot of people may suffer. And I also suspect that as much as possible, we are going to invent our way out of the problem, rather than go backwards and stop doing things - and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, whether green hairshirted types like it or not, despite the 'dark satanic mills', things are a lot better now for the vast majority of people than they were in the green, bucolic medieval times. Because we invented our way out of it.
Some claim this means we should give up even trying to be green. I don't agree. There's no harm in slowing things down. It gives us more time to invent our way out. But if I'm really, really honest, most of the green things I do have an ulterior motive. So, for example:
- I recycle - but this means I don't run out of room in the wheelie bin
- I don't fly - but this is because I don't like flying, and I did enough to last a lifetime when I was at BA
- I drive a small, low emissions car - but if I won £10 million on the lottery tomorrow, I would be off down to the Aston Martin showroom before you could say 'Jeremy Clarkson'
- I use low energy bulbs, have a well insulated house and all that - because I'm tight and want to save on fuel costs
- I walk to the shops rather than drive - to save money, because I hate faffing about in busy car parks and for my health