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Climate - July 22

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Global warming is a brutal truth

George Monbiot, Guardian
Channel 4's dismissal of Ofcom's damning verdict about its flawed programme is the usual professional self-deception
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... On almost every other weighty issue, the professional classes appear to be better informed than the rest of the population. On global warming the reverse seems to be true. The only people I have met over the past few years who haven't the faintest idea what man-made climate change is or how it is caused are university graduates. Not long ago, for example, I had to explain to the press officer at the government's department for transport what carbon dioxide is.

... From this distribution I deduce that the problem is not that people aren't hearing about climate change, but that they don't want to know. The professional classes have the most freedom to lose and the least to gain from an attempt to restrain it. Those who are most responsible for carbon pollution are – being insulated by their money - the least likely to suffer its effects. We talk airily in the United Kingdom about the adaptation technologies which will shield us from catastrophe. But in the Sahel, as I have seen, an effective adaptation technology is already being deployed. It's called the AK47.

Last night I watched a preview screening of Franny Armstrong's fascinating film The Age of Stupid, which follows the lives of six people – from the boss of an Indian airline to a fisherwoman in the Niger delta - caught up in climate change. The message, never stated but constantly emerging, is that we all have our self-justifying myths. We tell ourselves a story of our lives in which we almost always appear as the heroes. These myths prevent us from engaging with climate change.

The most powerful story of all, endlessly narrated by the hired hands of the fossil fuel industry, just as it was once told by the sugar slavers, is that we are both all-important and utterly insignificant. We are too important to be denied any of the delights we crave, but too insignificant to exert any impact on planetary processes.
(21 July 2008)


Code red: Climate skating on thin ice, authors say

Adam Morton, The Age
CLIMATE watchers yesterday warned that the Government's carbon pollution reduction plan had so many exemptions it was unlikely to lead to a cut in greenhouse emissions before 2020.

A book launched in Melbourne last night, Climate Code Red, argues that the climate change challenge is far worse than officially acknowledged by the Government or modelling undertaken by Government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut.

By economist David Spratt and Philip Sutton, the book warns that glaciologists are convinced the summer Arctic ice will disappear within five years...

"We have to go to a zero emissions economy as fast as humanly possible or the dominoes are just going to fall."
(18 July 2008)

Links: Sample chapters. A strong summary (PDF) of the book at the launch by the Governor of Victoria. Philip Sutton on the Reality Report with Jason Bradford

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