I commend this 4-minute soundbite to you – it’s journalist Bill McKibben putting our current climate change in the context of the history of human civilisation.
Source: Speaking of Faith (NPR)
Clive James points out this week that the exact science behind climate change theories might be up for debate (or perhaps has been scandalously misreported by the media).
However politicians and individuals have to make decisions based on the best evidence available at the time: right now, majority international scientific opinion tells us that the planet’s climate is changing, that it’s likely that human activity is causing it, atmospheric carbon levels are off the chart and if we do nothing, the consequences will be disastrous.
On this basis alone, postponing global action to change our would be highly irresponsible, and probably immoral. Maybe 10, 20, 100 years from now, our current climate science will be proved wrong. Maybe future generations will laugh at us, but at least they won’t be able to accuse us of inaction in the face of the science that we do have.
US Sea Level Trends, 1900-2000 (Data Source: NOAA/US EPA)
Elsewhere in the podcastsphere this week, George Kenney’s been talking to coastal geologist Professor Orrin Pilkey about sea level rise – an interesting hour’s conversation covering the scientific evidence for rising oceans and the policy challenges facing those who are trying to convince governments to tackle the problem.
In any case, moving away from a carbon-based economy promises enormous political and environmental benefits – decentralising power generation, reducing reliance for energy on politically unstable regions of the world, diversifying economies and offering new, cheaper energy technologies to developing countries. The meeting in Copenhagen this week is a great chance to start moving towards a low-carbon future. We’d be stupid not to grab it.
And if you’re a little jaded by all the political and science talk we’re hearing at the moment, check this out: a car that runs on compressed air.
Invented by a French engineer, the MDI engine produces ZERO pollution while running. The concept model may suffer a little from inimitably French design, but the underlying technology looks very promising. Tata has invested in the company, and there are plans to begin commercial production in 2010. The revolution is here, and it looks like a plastic snail.