Copenhagen #3: aftermath…

Well, predictably, the Copenhagen conference was a washout. I am not, however, ready to follow George Monbiot in declaring it a disaster. The way I see it is that Copenhagen is the first time we have got together as a species to tackle a common problem. That this happened at all is a clear admission that global warming is a threat that we all now recognize. That in itself is amazing progress. Further, there were signs that this was not business as usual: the ‘developed’ powers handing down to everyone else the way things are going to be – something that they’ve been doing for at least 200 years now. There was a moment when Africa spoke as one and told the rich they weren’t having it… Now this may have been because they were after the $100 billion that the developed have promised the undeveloped to help them cope with global warming. I can’t see the point of being so cynical. The important thing in this, it seems to me, is that people who are normally divided, acted together. Then there is the blame being heaped by the developed on China. Though China has recently become the biggest CO2 polluter, it has only just overtaken the US – who has been pumping out CO2 for at least a century – and China’s CO2 emissions are still, per capita, vastly less than the US’… I have some sympathy for China’s position that since we (the West) have produced by far the greatest portion of the man-released CO2 in the atmosphere, that we should take responsibility for this… It’s typical of Western politicians to attempt to shift blame elsewhere…

So where where does that leave us? We have the whole world getting together for the first time admitting that we ALL have a problem. We have the rich, developed countries trying to force on everyone else a solution that leaves them, as usual, benefitting at the cost of everyone else. We can all see that this wasn’t acceptable to the developing nations – nor should it be. We have thus admitted there is massive problem and that business as usual isn’t going to solve it. Of course, time is running out, but it seems to me that – given the circumstances – Copenhagen was not at all a disaster…

6 thoughts on “Copenhagen #3: aftermath…

  1. hehe
    and what do we do
    when we are all together
    recognising that we have this problem?

    you are right
    it’s a matter of rates:
    the rate at which we gather together
    the rate at which we recognise the power is not in traditional structures

    and you’ve got to balance this
    with the rate at which we are losing bits of the environment
    gorillas polar bears whales coral reefs etc

    put a cap on it!
    2020worldpeace

    1. I (think I ) know that you believe that there is some self-organizing way that could change the trajectory of the humanity. I don’t deny that this is possible. However, I am not confident that humanity can change direction quickly enough by this means. It is already a gamble as to whether we can change direction by some quick evolution of our traditional modes of governance and collective action… Our traditional and varied political systems might just be able to cobble something together… This said, it seems to me that this political configuration would be necessarily fragile. Even if it saved us (and the planet) from global warming, it could easily fall apart. What might be left would be the ‘ghost’ of global co-operation… and it could well be that that legacy might be the richest soil into which to plant the seed of your method…

  2. “We have thus admitted there is massive problem …”

    Actually, “We” haven’t admitted anything, considering that there is no problem.

    Well, having just read the “The Chosen” I think I can safely say that your writing is superb and your science/politics inferior.

  3. Gave a copy of the “The Chosen” to my wife and she just finished it a couple of hours ago. She feels things deeply and nearly bit my head after the ending. Bad things happening to people doesn’t make her happy, lol. Well, I’d warned her. It’s my own fault, I should have hidden the book from her.

    ricardo says:
    January 4, 2010 at 16:55

    “hmmm… so you don’t believe that global warming is man-made…?

    Well, no I don’t believe that.”

    From my perspective, politically mainly libertarian, global warming is propounded by a mass movement, similiar to early Christianity say, not propelled along by any facts, ie science. That movement aspect of warming is the only reason it’s actually worth discussing

    It’s not so much what I believe, rather given the evidence that there is there’s little reason to come down on the side of global warming. We’re at a hundreds of millions of years low point in ppm of carbon. Atmospheric carbon hasn’t been this low, say 400 ppm, since the Carboniferous period. If you averaged the last 400 miilion years, just eyeballing here, you’d arrive at an average of ca 1500 ppm. We’re a long way from that. And really, the slope is down.

    Where we have good data,ie unadulterated/unmassaged by warming enthusiasts,the temperatrue trend is actually minimally down.

    Then the proponents of warming ignore solar acticity where correclation is actually quite good. Arctic melting is emphasized while Anactic ice growth is neglected, etc etc ad nauseum. Heck, even if the Arctic ice cap disappeared entirely it would just be returning the globe to a condition it was in in the past, nothing anyone should get too worked up about.

    There’s also no credibility to the warming side of the argument. That’s especially true in light of the recent scandal, which basically confirmed what folks had been saying was going on with the modelers.

    1. yes… my books might be rather hard going for anyone who dislikes bad things happening to people *wry grin*

      as for global warming, I do believe it is man-made – or, at least, that we are behind the changes in CO2 in the atmosphere for during the past few hundred years… I have read quite widely on the subject, and what I know of the ‘evidence’ I find convincing. This said, all my knowledge is necessarily second hand and thus subject to uncertainty as I talk about here… Beyond all this, does it really matter if the current scientific consensus on global warming is wrong? What seems clear is that our dependence on oil leads to all kinds of unpleasant consequences political and otherwise. Further, this has to run out at some point. Ultimately, fossil fuels are limited – how could they not be? everything is… So at some point we will have to move towards an alternative way of producing energy…

      So, on balance, considering that if the scientific consensus is right, we’re all heading for disaster AND adding this to how desirable it is sooner rather than latter to move towards more sustainable energy sources – why take the risk of keeping things as they are?

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