Monday, September 25, 2006

Climate Change: Remember those responsible!

A recent article in the New Scientist stuck in my memory. More correctly, the opening thoughts did, and they can be paraphrased thus:

What I love about science is that it is ruthless. It doesn’t matter what you believe – or say you believe – it is the way it is.

Pretending otherwise is like legislating that pi = 3: it will make calculations easier, but all kinds of engineering problems will arise. Bridges will fall, and buildings will crumble.

Now hold that thought for a moment.

It has occurred to me that some people seem to be back-peddling on climate change. The latest is Australia’s PM John Howard, who said words to the effect that terrorism is more important than climate change. That’s one up from his past denial that climate change has any importance at all. But maybe on a par with his “thought” that economic growth is more important than climate change, and that it’s a matter of one or the other.

So, take a snapshot of their positions. People like that in pivotal positions are the ones responsible for dithering on the issue. They are the ones to hold accountable when, at some point in the future, everyone readily acknowledges the issue, but they acted too late, and the seas have already risen a metre.

Why has the sea risen? As we’ve seen before (again, from New Scientist), the ice in Greenland alone will raise the sea level several metres. And Greenland’s ice cap is a) above sea level, and b) melting right now.

The science is there already, so there’s no excuse. For ideological and other reasons, those people are ignoring the science. Maybe they hope they’ll be dead before the effects are felt. But if they’re not, hold them culpable. Tell them what world they have created for their grandchildren.

Those of us not in positions of influence can still do something. We can lead the way in our own actions. Of itself, one person’s actions will not do a lot. But many in the vanguard can make a critical mass that will impel action in those in power.

A reminder of the simplest things you can do:
- use public transport more; use the car less;
- put your superannuation money into ethical funds
- take your electricity from 100% renewable sources
- use your vote to focus the issue
- spread the word about your concern.

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