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HOT AND NOT BOTHERED November 27, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Global Warming (climate change).

Opposition to government can be both non-pragmatic and destructive. Government is the condition for liberty and social action, not to mention survival and well being.

The issue comes to the fore in what Kevin Rudd accurately described as “the great moral and economic challenge of our time”. Pragmatism now seems out of fashion in the various domestic political spheres and international arena has always lacked democracy. The political systems are not meeting the challenge of a historical change required by climate change.

We should not be surprised. It is beyond remarkable that the Carbon Tax was passed in Australia, and that a rudimentary, even failing, Emissions Trading Scheme operates in Europe. The American political system is dysfunctional and broken, and is wise not to expect too much from either India or China

Yet much like a person confronting cancer, the climate system is working the way it does indifferent to human considerations. Here of course, the parallel with smoking, including the special interest obfuscations and creation of denial is striking. The political realization has to be that outcomes need not be pre-ordained by irresponsibility.

As the representatives of world governments under the auspice of the United Nations begin their two week long talkfest in Doha to deal with a pressing and overriding problem that they have neither the political courage or global strategic vision to deal with, scientists ¬†warn¬†average global temperatures are likely to rise by 3-5 degrees Celsius rather than the mooted 2 degrees Celsius. There is no agenda to deal with the paradigm shift that is required. The best outcomes to be hoped is some general agreements and concessions that don’t go anywhere near to dealing with the global emergency. So who cares about the poorest people on the Earth anyway? Who cares that the textile industry of Bangadesh was smashed by the British, so that now people work in sweat shops and die due to unsafe building codes?

President Obama may be free of the threat of the Oil Corporations for the moment, but his successor in four years will not be. Realists are alarmed but those who live in a cloud of smoke are content to rot their brains. Thom Hartmann caught in the pre-election atmospherics, rails against the system:

Facts can be so boring. Who cares about the consequences or systemic sociopathy? Cyclones, droughts, sea rise, despite Sandy, will always affect somebody else. The International political system, along with that of the US, is broken both practically and morally. And global warming will continue to expose this malady, even if we chose not to face up to it.

There is plenty of blame to go around. For example, Australia is proposing a 0.5 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 – at which point we will have a better perception of the past than the future. The top carbon polluters, as distinct from per capita emitters, intend to keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Christina Figueres, for the UNFCCC, spoke to a press conference in Doha:

The problem is not the science, but now is the capability of political systems to address issues and to recognize the interests of the world’s people. Good intentions and half-measures will not be enough.



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