Monday, March 12, 2012

Climate Change: An Emergency But For Denial

“The world is perfectly on track for a six-degree Celsius increase in temperature. Everybody, even the schoolchildren, knows this is a catastrophe for all of us.” International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook report.

in extreme climate change danger that we should be in emergency mode; but our awareness of climate dangers and all our mitigation planning remain completely within - ideologically trapped within - business as usual (BAU): the present socio-economy in which we are all so fortunate to live.

Several years ago I postulated what I called society-wide denial : because we have been so slow to react and begin effective mitigation - because the economy and especially economic stability in our service sector dominated economies has been the prime focus of business and government - effective mitigation must now happen at a scale and pace that is not possible within, is not compatible with our present socio-economy."We're stuck between temperatures we can't possibly accommodate and carbon reduction pathways we can't possibly achieve. A rock and a hard place." The default mode is BAU and so we are in denial and don't think or talk about real mitigation.

The science is clear. Effective mitigation (I argued) to stay under the agreed upon 2C 450ppm precautionary ceiling required a 100% emission reduction by 2020 in countries with a large personal carbon footprint like the US, Canada or Australia. Systemic change, a massive reconfiguration of our economies, was now necessary, but such systemic change was not only not possible it was heretical to even consider in our dominant free market ideology.

Therefore, even though informed publics recognized that climate change was a building threat to everything we know and love and for species we share creation with on this small blue planet, the only mitigation planning allowed was incremental change within continuing BAU: green consumerism, greener building codes, electric cars, clean coal, etc., a slow transition to a green economy - obvious crackhead addict denial given the pace and scale of emission reduction demanded by state of the art climate science, especially the global carbon budget science. More