Night Phlox

My foolish dreams

A rant.

with one comment

(Miraculously, this will be my first rant post in over 6 months of blogging.)

Climate Change – Political Inaction

Yep, this is a big one. I’m not going to reference anything here – I’ve been doing enough of that in university essays and know that it’s no fun, especially when it interrupts the flow of a good ol’ moan.

The evidence for human-enhanced climate change is undeniable. Anyway who says otherwise is either stupid, ignorant, or has their head stuck in a barrel of oil.

I am not going to go through the impacts that climate change is having/will have on us. You can read that elsewhere.

But let me say this:

I would love for the deniers to be right.

Politics

The UN climate change talks sum up everything that frustrates me about politics. Paperwork, negotiations (read: squabbling), and massive conferences that serve no purpose other than to reinforce the impression that politicians only care about their term of office.

Do they not understand the scale of the problem facing us? Do they not get that the potential costs associated with climate change are practically infinite? Every generation from now on will be severely affected – that’s your children, your children’s children, their children….and so on. We are knowingly harming those generations and the planet for thousands of years, just so that those numbers stay black rather than red.

I don’t give a stuff about your country being less well off than another; I don’t care if mitigation measures will be tough – they will be a mere twinge of pain – not comparable with the incalculable effects on our planet for millenia.

Some politicians are somehow under the impression that we will be able to control the climate like we can turn the dial on a thermostat. But natural systems cannot be messed with. We are entering unknown territory, with temperature increasing faster than many climate models have predicted. We are hurtling towards disaster even though we could’ve put the brakes on at any time in the past 30 years.

The UNFCCC conferences will come to nothing until it is too late.

Economics

“Why would we want to burden our economies with green taxes, emissions trading schemes and renewables if means our growth will decrease?”  GDP is a false measure of our wellbeing, yet we live by it. Why have we allowed this measure to become enshrined in our political systems? Should we not measure happiness, wellbeing, or development?

All countries want to do is beat everyone else. Who cares if your GDP growth is 1% up on last year’s?

And if you care so much about your precious figures, then why are you decreasing the GDP of the future?

“Discounting”. Yeah, it makes sense in theory. But why are people in the future any less important than we are? Discounting seems to be another excuse for politicians/economists to focus only on the present.

Mitigation

We will not keep below the 2 degrees C threshold. Whatever that means, anyway. It seems like we’re already past many tipping points already.

Since 1990, annual global emissions have increased by 49%. Kyoto what?

If we’re lucky, I reckon we’ll peak global emissions by 2030, but more realistically by 2050. This will be too late. We will never tear ourselves away from this comfortable oil-based way of living in time for the worst to be avoided.

But that does not mean we should give up. There are so many uncertainties remaining in climate modelling (the effects of clouds, especially) that we might just get lucky. I doubt that’ll happen.

Adaptation

Adaptation seems to be the main subject of the Durban conference, mainly ‘cos everyone’s given up on a global deal. Adaptation may save lives in the short term, but what happens if the climate spirals out of control? Ever bigger coastal defences, less and less fertile land, more extreme weather…we won’t be able to shield ourselves from everything. Throwing money at such projects in developing and island countries is a poor kind of compensation. Oh sorry, your country just drowned; but don’t worry, we can relocate you to this polluted strip of land that will flood in another twenty years or so.

Tar/oil sands

The recent investment in tar sands is an act of such huge stupidity it makes me feel ashamed to part of the human race. At what would’ve been the perfect moment to invest in renewables, we take what the Canadians have seen as the easy option. Let’s dig up whole hillsides just to get to a few more drops of extra-dirty oil. Turning to tar sands is short-sighted, stupid, irresponsible and….oh, it just makes me incredibly angry. I can deal with gas power stations; and even (misguided) investment into CCS merely makes me a tad irritated. By turning to tar sands we’ve lost all hope in mitigating climate change to less dangerous levels.

Other stupidity

We need more nuclear power, but after Fukushima that seems like it’s the last thing we’re going to get. Politicians are much more open to nuclear than renewables (or at least they were) – large power plants are something they understand and are used to.

I always thought that Germany had  decent energy policy until they said they were going to phase out nuclear because of what happened in Fukushima. Fukushima happened because Japan is on a plate boundary. Germany is not on a plate boundary, nor is it anywhere remotely close to one.

Another point of stupidity are the politicians (*cough* Gideon *cough*) who blame green regulations/renewables subsidies on rising energy prices. Hello? Fossil fuel subsidies are six times greater than renewable subsidies. Why the hell are we still subsidising fossil fuels? Let me rephrase that. Why are oil companies still allowed to influence our governments?

Okay, that’s the end of the rant for now. My opinion is my opinion, and this might read like a long joke to some, but the issue is a serious one. Our inaction makes me despair.


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Written by Freya

Wednesday 7th December 2011 at 12:06 am

One Response

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  1. […] and now I have evidence to suggest I’m right about that. A quick glance at a previous post will tell you that I’m pro-nuclear, pro-environment (yes, those two match perfectly) and […]

    A visit to Drax « Night Phlox

    Thursday 16th February 2012 at 11:35 pm


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