Monday, August 10, 2009

If We Don't Get It Right This Time...

This is the worst possible moment for the Three Scourges to dummy up on climate change and just what we have to be prepared to do about it.

We're a scant four months away from what may be our planet's very last opportunity to put in place an effective global warming agreement that might, just might, forestall cataclysmic, runaway climate change.

UN Secretary General Ban put the challenge in clear, even blunt terms. From Associated Press:

Speaking in Seoul, South Korea, Ban said Monday the world has "less than 10 years to halt [the] global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet.

"It is, simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family," Ban said in a keynote speech at a gathering of the World Federation of UN Associations.

He said, however, there is cause for hope. Referring to a December meeting in Copenhagen, he said, "we have a chance to put in place a climate change agreement that all nations can embrace, which will be equitable, balanced, comprehensible."

What's the big rush? It's simple. Climate change is already setting in throughout less fortunate parts of the world and it will be arriving at countries like India, Pakistan and China within a decade.

If we're going to get a workable agreement it has to be in place while it's still possible to find consensus which means before global warming transforms into a global security problem. Once resource wars (they're already happening) reach a certain threshhold, wars over water and food, the window for consensus is closed and it'll be closed for good. Then it'll be time to start beating all those ploughshares back into swords.

Achieving consensus is going to require concessions from the West, there is no other way. But what public is going to support concessions if it doesn't grasp the problem, if it doesn't fully comprehend what is at stake? That, in turn, takes an informed population. It takes responsible political leadership getting reliable information to the public and facilitating the essential discussions and debates.

That should be happening right now and it's not. Stephen Harper has EnviroCan gagged thinking he can somehow benefit by keeping the genie in the bottle. He's doing it because he can. He's doing it because Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton are letting him get away with it. They're doing it because you're allowing Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton to get away with it too. It's time that changed.

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