Climate change action and Greek debt

A few days ago I asked this question on HubPages

Why has action on climate change stalled?

More than 250 views and over 30 answers and comments in 48 hours suggests that the topic still fires people up.

HubPages has a useful counter that shows how many people vote each comment up or down. As most of the comments were at the margins reflecting strong views for or against climate change action, the up votes were almost always balance by down votes.

Then today I came across an ‘advertisement’ for the 2012 climate change intercessional meetings – the discussions held between the main UNFCC Conference of the Parties – this year to be held in Bonn, Germany.

Here is an extract:

[Bonn] will need to pick up the momentum generated in Durban. The Durban Platform has the goal of “enhancing mitigation ambition to identify and to explore options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties”, and includes a commitment to develop a “new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force” by 2015.

As the youngsters would say ‘What the…’ Talk about disappearing up our own rear ends.

Somewhere in our subconscious we know that this stuff is important. A wicked problem it may be but it talks to the very fundamentals of our survival as individuals. Not least the challenges of where we will get our food, water and shelter.

Only this importance is playing out as denial. There isn’t a problem, go away and get on with you life and don’t bug me and really don’t expect me to pay to fix a problem that isn’t.

Or if not denial then a fear of catastrophe. If we don’t fix climate change the sky will indeed fall in.

What are we thinking? Feeding us all is, like the Greek debt, not something we should still argue about. We should be figuring out and implementing the best solutions.

For me solutions will have two pillars.

The first is nipping out the drivers. For climate change this will be to hasten the transition to sustainable energy and land management. In Greece (and a whole host of other countries) it is to stop spending money you don’t have.

The second pillar, and the one we seem to have completely ignored so far, is to implement adaptation. We should be channeling all that argumentative energy to think up and implement ways to cope with the change. In climate that is to change our water use, land management and plan for more extreme weather, shifts in seasonality and rising sea levels. Noting that all of these will be easier if we have cheap alternative energy.

In Greece it will be thinking up and implementing ways to employ a generation. Tough call.

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