March 19, 2009

We should have acted on climate change yesterday - please do so today

At the end of 2009 our leaders will meet in Copenhagen to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol for addressing climate change. On past experience, they will stress the need for urgent action and do little, fearing the steps necessary are to unpalatable for their citizens. And it is short-term considerations and the fear of losing power that drives them, that and the industrialists whispering in their ears threatening disinvestment and loss of jobs while pushing a wadge of money into their election campaign chests.

Climate change scientists have been meeting in Copenhagen to discuss the latest scientific findings. It is scary stuff. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero today would not be enough: the gases in the system are already having an impact and will continue to do so. Limiting mean global temperature increases to 2C is likely a lost battle. Much above this and the human race itself is facing defeat. Here is part of the analysis from George Monbiot in The Guardian yesterday:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that "global mean temperature changes greater than 4C above 1990-2000 levels" would "exceed ... the adaptive capacity of many systems". At this point there's nothing you can do, for instance, to prevent the loss of ecosystems, the melting of glaciers and the disintegration of major ice sheets. Elsewhere it spells out the consequences more starkly: global food production, it says, is "very likely to decrease above about 3C". Buy your way out of that.

And it doesn't stop there. The IPCC also finds that, above 3C of warming, the world's vegetation will become "a net source of carbon". This is just one of the climate feedbacks triggered by a high level of warming. Four degrees might take us inexorably to 5C or 6C: the end - for humans - of just about everything.

In its last drought, the Amazon rainforest is calculated to have emitted more carbon dioxide than Japan and Europe combined. With more disruption to the climate, droughts will become increasingly common and severe. See:

Our leaders have failed us and may well fail us again in Copenhagen. There are two things that you can do about this.

Firstly, join in marches to put pressure on the leaders of the main industrialised nations meeting at the G20 in London. There are various groups organising things. One is AVAAZ. For details see:

Secondly, call on politicians to pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments. The measures that are needed to address climate change are being discussed within the democratic space created by Simpol. Anyone can join in by signing up as a Simpol Adopter, which is free to do. Adopters can propose, discuss and vote on proposals. In the last annual vote climate change came out as the top issue and 'Contraction and Convergence' to deal with it as the top issue. See: - to sign up. - to join in the discussion.

Combine the two actions and go on a march with a Simpol placard. Hopefully Simpol will make resources available on the website.

You can write to your elected representatives at any time. Or better still arrange a meeting. My Member of Parliament signed the Simpol pledge after a 10 minute briefing from me. A candidate in the European elections brought a signed pledge along to a local group meeting I invited her to. The more pledges from politicians, the sooner we get governments on board and the sooner implementation of the Simultaneous Policy can be triggered. If they let us down in Copenhagen and waste another decade, Simpol may be our best hope. Please support it as a parallel strategy to marching!

The European Parliament elections are coming up, so now is a key time to contact the candidates. We cannot let these opportunities pass by. For information on how to do this, see:

If we cannot move to constructive cooperation between nations to address climate change and other global problems, the future is bleak: nations battling for resources as food supplies diminish and mass movement of refugees leads to social breakdown.

Better to contact your politicians now while there is still time.

1 comment:

gumbypoole aka Scott Poole said...

It is idiotic to think anything short of thermonuclear war that man can do is having any impact on climate. The earth has been warming (with brief interludes of cooling) for tens of thousands of years. Any expenditures to "combat" this bogus claim is a true waste of resources.