They make a desert and call it peace…” – Tacitus
I’m only just begun reading Robert Manne’s article on the “victory” of climate change denial:
So far nations and the international ‘community’ have failed conspicuously to rise to the challenge posed by these dangers. Since the Rio Earth Conference of 1992, which initiated the search for an international agreement, carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 40% or more. At Kyoto in 1997, a first, modest agreement was reached. It did nothing to prevent the pace of emissions increasing. Since the failure of the Copenhagen conference in 2009 to find a replacement for Kyoto, there has been no prospect of any new international agreement. Nothing was expected from the conference held at Rio in June on the 20th anniversary of the initial international gathering. Nothing was achieved. Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker has captured perfectly the world’s response so far to the warning issued by climate scientists 20 years ago: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.”
More comments and discussion forthcoming – but tell me what you think.
I have argued for many years that “we” have failed. The failure is not simply our inability to reverse atmospheric CO2 levels.
We failed to recognise the ferocity of the conservative “counter-reformation”.
As I noted in response to Graeme Redfearn’s article, we have heard the call to arms:
What we are seeing is a counter-reformation: in short an attack on the last 50 years of progressive politics, government regulation and even secularisation. It is nothing more than a campaign of revenge against those that dare question the privileged world view of the few.
They have looked for the enemy, and have seen us: progressives, liberals, greens, the LGBT community, indigenous Australians, the irreligious and scientists.
We have dared (dared!) to suggest the ethical circle of concern be drawn ever more broadly to include not just women, gays and minorities but even non-human species. Perhaps even the planet itself.
This may explain the cause of the barely comprehensible rage that finds expression in the denial movement, anti-gay marriage stance of conservatives and resurgent right-wing parties of Europe.
From the rage of the Tea Party against “leftist elites’ and News Corporations relentless war on the mildly progressive centre right Gillard government, the politics of hate and division seem to rule.
This in turn lead has led to a sense of defeat or deflation amongst those fighting to preserve a livable climate: “Why cant the public see what’s happening?”
As recent polling suggests, concern for climate change and environmental issues amongst the Australian public has declined. It would seem a few decent rain showers that have filled some damns and angst over the “carbon tax” has turned many into climate agnostics: in essence, they may accept that the climate is changing, but they’re going to hold off supporting policies designed to mitigate climate change and its impacts.
So if the deniers hold the levers of power – as Redfearn has pointed out – and the public has no appetite for action and prefers the safe, warm media bubble of Master Chef and endless home renovation projects what can we – should– do?
Firstly, contemplate the use of counter power.