Climate change and policy: do we really think that short term?

The Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability section of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)  latest report, titled ‘Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis‘ was recently released on 31 March. It makes for pretty grim reading, as did the first one way back in 1990 and each one since – this is the fifth instalment. The ‘summary for policymakers’ section was already released on 27 September last year.

I don’t want to make a long-winded argument about how factually agreeable that report is, there’s plenty of that out there. My only comment on people debating the data contained in the report would be: More than 300 authors and editors from 70 countries put it together, with more than 400 contributors and over 50,000 comments. What information source do you have that all of those experts missed?

The questions I want to pose are: how do we, and, more importantly, the politicians making our policy, take such a short-sighted view when tasked with dealing with climate change? How are the IPCC’s reports not convincing enough? What vested interests or head-in-the-sand thinking do our politicians have that are leading them to inaction?

I’m not sure what cause of inaction is worse: vested interests, or being too scared to present policy that, short-term, will be quite hard to put to voters because of the immediate financial impact.

Whichever it is, I think it’s time to pull out Greg Craven’s viral video from way back in 2007. Take it away, Greg:

*edit: I’ve been told that the embedded Youtube video isn’t working (though it looks fine to me), so here’s the link to the video on Youtube for anyone who’s having that problem.



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