Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Climate Change: Tipping points on climate change

Elizabeth Farally normally writes deliberately abstruse articles on architecture. But she can be suddenly lucidly when she wants - and she wrote on climate change.

Farrally drew my attention to a report called The Top Ten Tipping Points on Climate Change, put out by the Climate Institute of Australia.

The Climate Institute is a very new organisation with the very important mission of raising public awareness on climate change. It’s led by a heavyweight roster of business and public figures, and funded by the Poola Foundation, a low profile Melbourne-based philanthropic organisation which seems to be doing exactly the sort of things I postulated would make a structural difference to our society.

The report itself documents the critical mass that has been developing over the climate change issue. This includes science, governments, media, the public, energy issues, moral leadership and – significantly – corporations who are slowly recognising the global imperative. It is always heartening to see leadership on the issue, especially from mammon. This very presentable, readable and detailed report is both a source of hope for our future, and a call to arms for laggards.

Australia and the USA are in a very similar position in so many ways: we are both major greenhouse gas offenders whose national governments are still in climate change denial. Yet in both countries, significant initiatives are taking place at the State level and below. If I was feeling optimistic, I'd echo the sentiment that in both countries, the next national leader would be the one who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, ignore climate change. This doesn't reflect well on our current leaders, who will hopefully be relegated to historical footnotes as we draw our inspiration from others.

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