Thursday, 15 October 2009

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.

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