Kyoto lives

Fantastic news that the climate talks struck a deal of sorts. Further to my post yesterday, the US in the end signed up to continued no-committments dialogue .

National and other Kyoto skeptics in the NZ political scene are now going to have to live with the fact that the Protocol is not going away and that some sort of adjustment for climate change is going to happen internationally one way or another. We’re either in on it, or we’re not.

The argument on the form of that adjustment continues.

11 thoughts on “Kyoto lives

  1. Pingback: Not PC
  2. Not PC – What is your point? I am not sure what category to put you in. Are you

    (a) so poorly informed (or boundlessly optimistic) that you think human-induced global warming has no potential to risk human life, or

    (b) one of the dwindling few people on Earth who, despite extravagant (and growing) evidence still don’t believe that global warming is happening, or

    (c) think that global warming is God’s way of punishing us and that we shouldn’t fight it, or

    (d) believe that the Gross Domestic Product is God and nothing should get in its way, under any circumstances, period.

    Personally, to date, climate change has affected my view of the detractors more than it has affected my day to day life. I have realised that media and politicians generally have little understanding about how science works, its interface with advocacy and how scientific information is best used in the face of uncertainty. Take the following statements:

    Global warming will cause the extinction of 90% of life on Earth.

    Global warming is caused primarily by human activity.

    The truth or otherwise of these statements is not currently known with absolute certainty.

    Is this uncertainty a reason for inaction? No! Based on current scientific evidence, the human activities causing climate change *could* precipitate a mass extinction event — the first in 65 million years. Over time the scientific evidence will grow until we are near certain, one way or the other – either climate change will be devastating or it won’t. But can we wait until near certainty is established before we act? No! The *precautionary principle* says that if the consequences of an action (i.e. converting all the world’s fossil fuels into greenhouse gases and deforesting the planet) are unknown, but are judged to have some potential for major or irreversible negative consequences (like making the planet uninhabitable for humans and many other species), then it is better to avoid that action. Invoking the precautionary principle is the only reasonable action that politicians can take in this situation. The quality of the debate in the media around this issue has been woeful. Especially the so-called ‘balanced’ reporting, where Kyoto Protocol detractors are given as much airtime as are advocates for action against climate change. This ‘balanced’ reporting is usually delivered without even mentioning the fact that the scientific evidence supporting the detractors is rapidly vanishing. It is ridiculous. Apart from the wealth of information from long term studies of atmospheric levels of gas, ice cores and so forth, the record heat in summers in Europe, forest fires for months in Portugal, the worst Atlantic hurricane season ever recorded, and a rapidly disappearing Arctic ice cap are all (quite probably) signs of the long-term effects of climate change. The Tegua islanders have had to shift their entire town recently due to frequent flooding and are probably the world’s first climate change ‘refugees’. How much more evidence is required before Dubya (and similar jugheads) joins the rest of the world and acts on this problem now, before it is too late. Some things are actually more important then the Gross Domestic Product.

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  3. Well said alexei. I’m very surprised more has not been said about the precautionary principle. It seems that the skeptics demand the we are absolutely certain the human-induced global warming is occuring otherwise there is no need doing anything. You don’t have to be 100% sure, especially since the potential damage could be huge. If there is a reasonable risk, do something about it. Don’t wait till it is too late.

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  4. The reason why so little has been said about the precautionary principle is because some politicians consider many policies that violate the precautionary principle nessecary, or at least beneficial. (for example, nuclear armament violates the precautionary principle) For those types, the less said about the precautionary principle, the better ;)

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  5. alexei(and others)….paragraph man!..paragraph…..let them words breath…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  6. Phil – Next thing you will be telling me to do is drop all the capitals to lower case and sprinkle my text with little runs of full-stops. ;-)

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  7. I suppose it’s something that the US signs up to keeping discussions open on a technical level. Then, the next time they get some politicians who are in their right minds, they can get involved in the actual process.

    Well we can dream.

    Wot about the next Labour govt in Aus? Are they going to sign up to Kyoto? What about the coal? (not to mention the uranium… I TOLD you not to mention the uranium…)

    I just noticed that the Aus shadow environment minister is an old mate of mine… Anthony Albanese… though I haven’t spoken to him for 20 years.

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  8. I believe that the detractors, individually, find the problem(s) too OVERWHELMING to face. Therefore they tend to choose ways of avoiding dealing with the issue … none of which involve responsibility or cooperative effort.

    1. This can’t really be happening. (denial)
    2. God won’t let it happen, or if “He” does, we must acept that. (helpless child)
    3. “They” will think of something. (trusting child)
    4. I’m only one person/organisation so what I/we do won’t make any difference one way or the other, so I/we might as well make the most of it. (self centred denial … the behaviour of big corporations /governments … (I will only if he will / I won’t unless he won’t.)
    5. My opinion is just as valid as the so-called Boffins. (competitive denial)

    Number 4 is the behaviour of big corporations, governments etc. and of many individuals. (I will only if he will / I won’t unless he does).

    We put Global Warming in “the too hard basket” and hope it will go away, whereas individual responsibility and cooperative effort are both vital if any changes are to be made.

    (When one wants to know why Governments, Corporations and Nations behave in the ways they do, spend a day observing in a Pre-School, Kindergarten, ChildCare Centre etc.)

    eredwen

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  9. You forgot

    6. (nasty smirk/sneer) You and whoze army?

    We’re in adolescent territory here… trouble is, we can’t MAKE them do it, and they know it.

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  10. Eredwen

    Bulls-eye!

    There is actually ONE more, and in its way it is just as nasty.

    7. Profit

    The people running the show in the USA are overwhelmingly energy industry and they are raking in money like never before. This will continue until people actually conserve and take seriously the long term issues, and it is in their interest to keep that from happening for as long as possible.

    But the spoiled children analogy sticks to these twits like a coat of paint.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  11. I’d been a global warming sceptic for ages, but too many scientists agree with it now to ignore, and the recent temperature spikes are very alarming.

    I’m not convinced we can fix the problem, but we should try. Then we’ll know. No other approach would be scientific.

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