Monday, June 02, 2008

Time for a change on change?

As we're on an alliterative roll.

Cooling on warming

At first when I read this I thought... easy Tiger, what's all this past tense lark?

But it was... is worth reading on. Lots to digest, agree with, but also some still to crank an eyebrow at.

For instance I very much doubt climate change can be tackled through research and adaptation, and do believe that trying to transform human behaviour needs to stay on the menu. Just, not in the cack-handed way that has been tried by most advocates to date.

Which rather makes me worried that we end up with different, or differently spun messages, but from the same bunch of messengers who have seen fit to be our global nannies to date.

An d I mean virtually the entire political, academic and media establishment. Huge quantities of hot air were pumped out, and many tonnes of pollutants were expelled by planes carrying concerned dignitaries to global conferences. Last I looked, by the by, they still are. But however vast, they were also piecemeal, and remain so. From front pages in this paper to Milliband interviews on Newsnight about 'the single greatest thread...yadayada...' little forays soared and were dropped at the first sign of a Royal misbehaving or a pol mis-speaking. So if you lot can't stay interested, why should the rest even start getting concerned?

Especially when the current crop of messengers are pushing such contradictory messages from, as you say, digging up more oil to buy a vote or two, or flogging a getaway to the sun on the side to help keep the group profits up.

And whilst accepting the 'most of us' disclaimer, enough of the 'we'. I am certainly not impressed by sanctimonious gestures, nor have I attended the occasional concert of clapped-out superstars.

So yes, it's time to get real. An odd admission that, until now, few Ministers, Editors and Directors of Climate Advocacy have.

But dealing with gunk seems a rather short term fix if pursued at the total expense of cutting back on making it in the first place. Especially with that dratted population thing that was all the rage last week.

So I think both should be pursued, but perhaps with a little less of the target-meeting, box-ticking, pedestal-standing, finger-waving, guilt-tripping, fine-imposing, fear-inducing rampant hypocrisy from a whole industry - political, academic, activist and media - making hay, lots and lots of hay, while the sun shines ever hotter.

And yes, a bit more sensible, practical research that can give the people information they can trust and get behind. I saw a claim on Newsnight a wee while ago that to truly come up with definite answers on climate we'd need 1,000 times more support for the modelling.

Not sure if that was not just another nifty BBC-parroted Press Release from the research community to put their kids through college, but if true I'd say go for it. Now.

If (and it's a biggie) we can see where we are, where we'll be and what we can credibly do about it, I think you'll find a lot more folk go straight through hand wringing to action. The action just has to add up though.

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