A link to the Financial Times this week
Just in case it doesn’t work (me using the internet still feels like riding a tiger much of the time), the discussion is on whether events such as the Dawlish railway line collapse has a ‘climate change’ component. It quotes an American site explaining that there is no such connection.
The comments stream is interesting, but again in case it cannot be accessed, here is the twopenneth I have added
First the unarguable facts: Greenhouse gases (not just CO2 – shale gas – CH4 is far more powerful) are rising steadily. They trap energy in the weather system. This must be expressed by general temperature rises, the oceans being much more capacious than the atmosphere, AND/OR more energetic weather events, including droughts due to abnormally high pressure systems. It is progressive: the effects will intensify steadily.
So even if we were to accept for the sake of argument that climate change still has no detectable effect, why is there a formidable body of opinion which has developed a narrative ’17 years with no atmospheric temperature rise’ etc., dedicated to the proposition that there is no problem whatsoever, and whoever says there is must be headless chickens/part of a conspiracy?
There are two books ‘Prosperity without Growth’, and ‘Enough is Enough’, which explain how zero economic growth could, the authors say must, be an important part of the problem of heeding ecological limits. Both are excellent accounts of how humans could adapt, but neither tells anyone making a profit from ecologically damaging activity why they should stop any time soon.
I have two explanations. 40 years of doorstepping on behalf of the Green Party (UK) revealed that 10 % of the population dismiss on principle the notion of the Earth having ecological limits that we breach at the risk of killing us all. They believe that there will always be somebody somewhere clever enough to outwit so-called eco-constraints. I think it is in the nature of things that this mind set will be heavily over-represented in boardrooms and business ventures generally. If they were the only problem, I would simply appeal over their heads to the general population with ways to avoid taking such an appalling risk.
But I believe there is a far more dangerous group. the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ is a theory which explains that when a tribe with a culture which has grown dependent on expansion meets physical limits, instead of restraint and cooperation, it will already be competitive, and this will intensify into aggression. But if you believe this, and not unreasonably given the evidence for the ‘Tragedy’ that nothing to forestall an ecological crisis can or will be done in time, then if you are among the few in a position to do so, you DENY the problem so that you can go Hell for leather to ensure that you are in as powerful position as possible when the trouble comes.
My message is ‘The end of the World need not be at Hand’. But at the moment it looks as though it might be. I have some suggestions: