Climate “deadlines are conditioned by the Earth’s response to human activity, not by humans”October 9, 2007 at 10:16 am | Posted in Ashton, Climate change, Deadlines, EU, Grateful Dead, IPCC, MEPs, UN | 2 Comments
- With the Kyoto limits on greenhouse gases due to expire in 2012, the debate on what should replace them came to Parliament’s Climate Change Committee on Thursday 4 October.
- A panel of experts from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as representatives from the US, China and Japan set out their views on how to deal with the problem.
- The UN experts told MEPs that to avert catastrophic climate change temperature increases must not rise by more than 2 degrees.
From last week’s European Parliament News, MEPs told “no rewind button ” on climate change ahead of post Kyoto talks.
John Ashton is clear on climate change key points for policymakers, as in this excerpt:
A central theme stressed by the main UN speakers was the need to see climate change as a current rather than a future problem. John Ashton, a keynote speaker from the UK Foreign Office told the meeting that “we don’t have a rewind button . We have to get it right the first time”. He went on to say that “it’s today’s problem, not tomorrow’s” … warn(ing) that “the deadlines are conditioned by the Earth’s response to human activity, not by humans”.
On 3 December the island of Bali in Indonesia will see a meeting of the current signatories of the protocol. It will mark an important first step in negotiating the post Kyoto international framework on emissions.
Lack of will, not lack of wisdom, is the key problem
Mr Ashton said that “any discussion on post-2012 has to be fixated on the outcome. What we are talking about is an effort to build a world economy in energy which, by the end of the century, should be zero-carbon.” The key problem “is not a lack of wisdom … but a lack of political will … to build the appropriate policies” necessary to tackle climate change.
Pointing to the $20 trillion needed for investments in global low-carbon energy infrastructure over the next 30 years, Ashton noted that, in as much as governments may set emission targets, many of the most important decisions are in fact “those made in the board-room” – i.e., by industry. “This is largely about the direction of the flow of private capital,” he said and stressed that in order to invest the private sector needs confidence in government action.
The sense of urgency is palpable. If only the next U.S. Administration could somehow guarantee support for businesses going forward now, such that the madmade* 13-month hiatus we have to endure does not end up being a miserable span of time we look back on with regret.
The significance of deadlines that are conditioned by the body’s response to human activity dawns quickly … once you are pregnant. Just before I went on a maternity leave, a good friend and colleague remarked, quite matter-of-factly, that despite tremendous efforts by all concerned, our company had achieved next to nothing in the nine months since I had conceived. Meanwhile, nature did what it does, naturally . It would be a pleasure to welcome a newborn to this world, blissfully unaware of artificial deadlines and unrealistic goals.
This anecdote illustrates perfectly the difference between manmade and natural deadlines. There is no denying the latter.
- I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
* this is a typo. I decided to leave it in 😉