Down the Docks

February 1, 2006

Global Warming Bad News

Filed under: Current Affairs — ealing @ 2:26 pm

Within a span of a couple of days, I read about a new UK government report on climate change (BBC News articleSlashdot discussion), and heard James Lovelock talk about his new book on Radio Four (Bruce Sterling’s comments). It’s all very depressing.

James Lovelock will doubtless be accused of unjustified hysteria in an attempt to sell his book. Putting aside the question of whether his thesis is factually true (and I suspect it is), I wonder if this message might actually be strong enough to get people to take notice and actually change their behaviour?

Truthfully, I think it won’t be. There’s been plenty of evidence so far that things are heading from bad to worse, and while environmental concern now has a “feel good” aura to it, it still lacks the punch of economic or social issues when deciding policy. The only things I can realistically see changing our behaviour are economic incentives, or disasters happening on our doorstep. I’m not one to wish for disaster, and on a global scale prevention is much better than cure, so I’m left hoping for more economic incentives to being green.

Excuse me then, if I smile when I see the forecourt prices going up, airlines going bust, and road tax rising.

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