Saturday, December 19, 2009

Getting on with it after the fiasco

Wise heads such as John Schellnhuber have predicted for months if not years that COP15 would end in failure. [1] But the fact that even pretensions to a minimal global deal are unmet at least makes the scale of the challenges clearer than ever. And rather than tearing out hair (see the comment from Save the Children here) it's time to get on with what is achievable in the circumstances. [2] Individual countries can still move in the right direction. Sectoral deals are possible. Mike Hulme had this to say back in November:
One of the arguments I make about Copenhagen is that we’ve stitched together so many concerns – quite serious and real concerns – under one umbrella [namely, the reduction of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere]. It’s a bit like the Rubik’s Cube that came out some years ago. There are so many different combinations that I could never solve it. And this is what we’ve created with Climate Change. A Rubik’s Cube that we can’t solve. Whereas if we begin to tease out the various elements of the problem – the problems of development, the problems of adaptation, the problems of short-lived greenhouse gasses like methane or black soot, separate those out from the problems of long-lived CO2, we could find a much easier set of pathways.
Evan Osnos has a good piece on China's energy and technology choices.


[1] (Added 16.00) described by one delegate as "carefully managed collapse".

[2] (added 21 Dec) including harder campaigning. See, for example, Johann Hari

No comments: