environment & politics

Some Essential Questions

The UN warns of threat to human progress from climate change:

The United Nations warned today that a continued failure to tackle climate change was putting at risk decades of progress in improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

In its annual flagship report on the state of the world, the UN said unsustainable patterns of consumption and production posed the biggest challenge to the anti-poverty drive.

“For human development to become truly sustainable, the close link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions needs to be severed,” the UN said in its annual human development report.

How many more articles, daily scientific reports and lines of hard evidence connecting man’s activities to climate change do we need before we do something about it? How many more national and global scientific organisations do we need to add to the immense list of those who warn us about the dangers of relying upon fossil fuels? When the decades of science that proves man-made climate change is a reality is as tight as the science that connects HIV to aids and that smoking causes cancer, how much longer do people have to stand back being ambivalent about it, tittering about it being good for the UK wine industry, or it being nice to have hot weather up north? How many more millionaires are going to actively prevent society doing something about one of the largest disasters our generation will ever face? When the global average temperature creeps up and positive feedback mechanisms kick in, precisely what will the death toll need to be, from the exacerbated weather events or sky-high food prices and famine, before our conscience kicks in?

Several leading journalists have suggested climate change denial is as severe as Holocaust denial, and warnings such as this by the UN make me think that those accusers may well be on to something.

Carbon emissions need to be reduced on a national level, by an immense amount and very quickly. You know who to talk to… Go and talk to them about it.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

6 replies on “Some Essential Questions”

It’s getting hot – of IP address: – you’re going to have to do a lot better than quote a bunch of corporate nonsense here, dude. Otherwise you’re just another mad man on the internet. You’re going to have to overturn the last 200 years of science as well as the laws of physics. I know you think it’s a dreaded left wing conspiracy – you know, one that includes George Bush, admittedly a latecomer to the communist movement – but we need evidence, dear sir, if you wish to have a debate.

You’ll need more stories that point out how these things are going to significantly impact the daily lives of those who exist in economic powerhouses (largely Western) like the U.S. Otherwise, the U.S. is going to continue on its sluggish path. The sad reality is that not enough people care about the poor, or underdeveloped countries, or the starving, and so forth. We say we do, but studies show that, on average, we’re less likely to put our money or manpower where our mouths are.

Not a rosy picture, but the reality is that Americans and people who live in nationalist-oriented countries are unlikely to do anything about things that don’t directly influence them in a way that is measurable, immediate, or serious to warrant attention.

But I’m a pessimist (the product of living in a nation where businesses are quite literally more valuable than human lives: digital piracy is more valuable than people who die in plane crashes, for example). Hopefully I’m proven wrong and we come to our senses before it’s too late…

The BBC’s report from Greenland earlier in the year was illmuminating. Thousands of huskies were being put down because there is no need for them any more, as the retreating ice has allowed for easier travel, and the Greenland authorities are urgently looking at putting together tourism packages to take advantage of increasingly attractive climate.

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