Wednesday, March 05, 2014
She Looks At a World Reeling from Extreme Weather and Sees a Silver Lining
Christiana Figueres, the United Nations climate chief, looks at the devastation and sees a silver lining - the prospect that these impacts and the losses they occasion will finally move climate change to the top of the global political agenda. She says that partisan political bickering has to go.
Christiana Figueres said that it was amoral for people to look at climate change from a politically partisan perspective, because of its impact on future generations.
The "very strange" weather experienced across the world over the last two years was a sign "we are [already] experiencing climate change," the executive secretary of the UN climate secretariat told the Guardian.
The flooding of thousands of homes in England because of the wettest winter on record has brought climate change to the forefront of political debate in the UK. The prime minister, David Cameron, when challenged by Labour leader, Ed Miliband, on his views on man-made climate change and having climate change sceptics in his cabinet, said last week: "I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces."
Climate change was barely mentioned at all in the 2012 US election battle until superstorm Sandy struck New York, prompting the city's then mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to endorse Barack Obama's candidacy because he would "lead on climate change."
Figueres said: "There's no doubt that these events, that I call experiential evidence of climate change, does raise the issue to the highest political levels. It's unfortunate that we have to have these weather events, but there is a silver lining if you wish, that they remind us is solving climate change, addressing climate change in a timely way, is not a partisan issue."
She added: "We are reminded that climate change events are for everyone, they're affecting everyone, they have much, much longer effects than a political cycle. Frankly, they're intergenerational, so morally we cannot afford to look at climate change from a partisan perspective."
Memo to Steve, Justin & Tom: Bitumen trafficking and saving the planet for our grandkids are mutually exclusive.