Monday, December 07, 2009

Mass delusion

Led by the Grauniad:
Copenhagen climate change conference: 'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation'

This editorial calling for action from world leaders on climate change is published today by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages
Many, including the Guardian, on the front page.
Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted. . . .

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based. . . .
The Miami Herald was the only American paper to sign on. Tim Blair (via whom, by the way) notes the response (quoted in this self-congratulatory Guardian piece) of one American editor: “This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell.”

Sanity: such a rare commodity these days.

Update: Meanwhile, we've been in the deep-freeze in Colorado for several days. It's seven degrees now in Denver and we're supposed to get another seven or eight inches of snow on top of the seven or eight we got over the weekend. And winter is only two weeks away.

Update II: Ha-Ha! Antonia Senior at TimesOnline (which is going aardvark-shit crazy over Copenhagen): "Take climate seriously. Make a joke of it." Subhead: "For many of us global warming is worthy but dull. We need to find a new way of talking about it":

Climate change is a bit dull. A bit of a turn-off. Important? Yes. The biggest challenge mankind has faced? Possibly. But exciting? Admit it. How many times have your eyes glazed past the latest slice of gloom and doom, in search of something a bit more fruity? Tiger Woods’ apparent taste in plastic waitresses with weirdly plump lips; or bankers’ bonuses.

I know it’s not really funny that polar bears are drowning and sea levels rising; but death isn’t innately hilarious and neither is paedophilia, yet jokes on both abound. If a celebrity dies or is caught with dodgy images, the web resounds with comedy e-mails. When the latest statistics on melting ice sheets come out, the e-mail ping falls silent. We briefly feel the guilt, shrug and return to our messy, polluting lives. . . .
Well, that's kind of funny, isn't it? Concluding graf:
We [media and science types] get more pompous, you get more bored, the world keeps getting hotter and the climate change chat is dominated by what should be fringe movements. We need a new vocabulary; a new irreverence. We need leaders, yes, but also comics. Someone to lead the fight, with a jester to relieve the tension and unremitting gloom. Have you heard the one about the drowning polar bear? No, neither have I.
A polar bear, a baby seal and Phil Jones walk into a bar . . .

Nope, she's right: not funny.

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