Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Copenhagen countdown - staying the right side of 2ºC

Less than a week to go to Copenhagen: to what might, when we look back in twenty or thirty years, turn out to have been the most important inflection point of our lifetimes between two possible futures: that of truly putting us on the road to resolving climate change, or not. In the UK, it is also quite likely to be the last important action of the Labour administration which started in 1997, and the country therefore has a short window of opportunity in which to act (frankly, it's incredibly unlikely, despite Cameron's protestations to the contrary, that a Tory administration would act in this area aggressively).

Our political systems, however, so adept in acting in the event of immediate threats such as military attack, seem hopelessly inadequate to act in the event of a slow-moving crisis. In the event of failure, even such measured and sensible people as Al Gore are advocating that "civil disobedience has its role to play" and, despite myself, he may just have a point.

Let's not fluff it.

1 comment:

  1. Consider the impact that the threat of military invasion had on the country - necessarily bringing about full employment, planning for a specific goal - the result was the postwar consensus, the welfare state, and the mixed economy.

    Any concerted effort to tackle carbon emissions will result in a significant shift in economic and political power towards ordinary people as production, of food and energy, is localised. This entails replacing "free" markets with fair ones, internalising costs that were previously externalised.

    I don't know how productive civil disobedience would be in the even of failure of the talks. My motto, as ever, "don't mourn, organise."

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