Skip to main content

Climate change hits the blogs

This is, apparently, Blog Action Day. The idea is that as many bloggers as possible make a contribution on the same subject... and why not. So here we go.

I've written two books around the subject of climate change, The Global Warming Survival Kit and Ecologic (which admittedly covers a wider range of green issues). When I wrote GWSK I was slated by some for being negative. The book assumes that we are going to suffer from the impact of climate change and addresses coping with all the things that are likely to be thrown at us. Some environmentalists reckoned that I was sending out a message 'It's too late to do anything, give up and panic.'

I wasn't. I do think it's important we do all we can to mitigate the impact of climate change by doing all those good things that cut back on emissions and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and all the rest. But I don't think it's enough.

In part this is because it isn't politic to make decisions based on long timescales. Politicians will never be draconian enough to impose sufficiently large reductions in emissions, because it's hurting today for benefit tomorrow. (Or, rather, for benefit years in the future.) And in part it's reflecting what I believe is the best scientific evidence of today, which is that we are going to feel the impact of climate change, whatever we do. It's too late to avoid it.

So while I genuinely do encourage everyone to do the right things that really will make a difference on emissions (and as Ecologic stresses, these aren't always the obvious, in-your-face things), I also think we should be putting more effort into preparing for and mitigating the impact of climate change.

Many Kenyans, for instance, are already feeling what is probably the results of climate change in the drought that they are suffering. All around the world we can expect changes in weather patterns that will influence our day to day lives. The issue is not going to go away, so we shouldn't be burying our heads in the sand and pretending nothing is going to happen.


Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope