Buried deep in our subconscious, there still lays the belief that our political leaders are collective Daddies and Mummies who will – in the last instance – guarantee our safety.Eh? What adult thinks that? Speak for yourself, Johann.
Oh, I guess you are...
Last week in Copenhagen, the conviction was disproved. Every leader there had been told by their scientists – plainly, bluntly, and for years – that there is a bare minimum we must all do now if we are going to prevent a catastrophe. And they all refused to do it.And why..?
Because it was based on poor science and the people are beginning to see through it. And because it would have been political suicide. And because the people pushing it are the ones who stand the most to gain from the actions they are pushing on everyone.
But he's not finished with the poor science:
To understand the gravity of what just happened, you need to know a few facts about global warming that, at first, sound odd. The world's climate scientists have shown that man-made global warming must not exceed 2C. When you hear this, a natural reaction is – that's not much; how bad can it be if we overshoot? If I go out for a picnic and the temperature rises or falls by 2C, I don't much notice. But this is the wrong analogy. If your body temperature rises by 2C, you become feverish and feeble. If it doesn't go back down again, you die. The climate isn't like a picnic; it's more like your body.Umm, it isn't any of those things; it's a vast, incalculable, unfathomable chaotic system.
But Hari isn't finished reading out plot points from the rejected script from '2012':
Two degrees is bad: 2C means we lose much of the world's low-lying land, from the island-states of the South Pacific to much of Bangladesh to swathes of Florida. But at every step up to and including 2C, if we reduce our emissions, we can stabilise the climate at this new higher level. If we go beyond 2C, though, the situation changes. The earth's natural processes begin to break down – and cause more warming. There are massive amounts of warming gases stored in the Siberian permafrost; at 2C, they melt and are released into the atmosphere. The world's humid rainforests store huge amounts of warming gases in their trees. Beyond C, they lose their humidity and begin to burn down – releasing them too into the atmosphere.I want some of what he's smoking...
These are called "tipping points". Because of them, the world gets warmer and warmer beyond 2C.
And his heroes having let him down, Hari wants You! Yes, You! to pick up the slack:
At least we know now: scientific evidence and rationality are not going to be enough to persuade our leaders. The Good Daddy isn't in charge. Nobody is going to sort this out – unless we, the populations of the warming-gas countries, make them. Politicians respond to the pressure put on them, and every single politician at Copenhagen knew they would get more flak at home – from their corporate paymasters and their petrol-hungry populations – for signing a deal than for walking away.Well, that's true.
There is only one way to change that dynamic: a mass movement of ordinary democratic citizens. They have made the impossible happen before.
But I don't think propelling Rage Against The Machine to the Christmas number one in opposition to poor Joe really means that we will offer to cut our own throats so that Al Gore can keep the lights running in his mansion 24/7/365, Johann...
The time for changing your light-bulbs and hoping for the best is over. It is time to take collective action. For some people, that will mean joining Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or the Campaign Against Climate Change and helping them pile on the pressure. But those who can go further – by taking non-violent direct action – should do so. Every coal train should be ringed with people refusing to let it pass. Every new runway should be blockaded. The cost of trashing the climate needs to be raised.Well, good luck with that, Johann.
But you should have looked at some other stories in the news while you were frantically flogging your ferret to the Copenhagen broadcasts. You should have paid attention to the fury over the proposed BA strike, the mounting anger at the unpreparedness of the councils for a bit of (well forecast) snow, and the bitterness being directed at the bungling Eurostar debacle.
You want to marshall your troops to further inconvenience the public in their travel plans?
Oh, boy. *gets popcorn* This'll be amusing to watch...