A dilemma in the climate change response

Previously I posted an idea to translate the growing radical sentiment against climate change to substantive policy investment.  I am not concerned about what idea is applied, just the fact that policy in increments may fall short of the projected challenge. 

The idea I posted sparked from my own situation and dilemma, which in turn mirrors the dilemma at the international level.  That is, with a $250’000+ mortgage and the fact of interest (dead money especially if my overall amount can’t be reduced), I found it hard to modify other parts of my life in order to reduce my own emissions.  This is because there are many people around me who are significantly more wealthy and who own their own homes, and have more disposable income. 

This is not to say that I can’t aspire to reducing emissions whilst reducing costs (I can, and do!), and not to say that there are not many more people who are more worse off (there are), but the fact of my mortgage and its personal impact contrasts heavily to what I can achieve as an individual in the fight against global warming.  This is my dilemma.

The idea I posted was aimed at nationalising an equitable and substantial investment through a direct voice of the people.  If I had a choice to mandatory increase my investment to tackle climate change by reducing my disposable income I would do it if it was applied in an equitable sense at a national level, and I would do it in a significant way.  I believe these kinds of ideas can mobilise a new Nationalism.

To contextualise this dilemma, on Lateline last night Stanford University Climatologist Stephen Schneider said (over the fold):

The first difficulty you have to do is you have to convince people in countries like China and India and Indonesia who have a factor of 10 less dumping of carbon in the atmosphere per capita than we do, that we’re serious.

So, we tell them that we want equal penance before the bar, that they’re supposed to take targets to make a level playing field with us, and at the same time the playing field hasn’t been level for 100 years an we’re 10 times ahead.

If we want them to take action, which is necessary for us to have a safe climate in the future, then we have to show that we haven’t made our consumption the single and only proposition that matters. And therefore we have to negotiate with them, their transition to cleaner energy and we have to help them do it and do it at home to prove that we’re serious.


TONY JONES: It is a fundamental argument that’s going to happen in Bali and other levels of post-Kyoto negotiation isn’t it, because Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for example, says the richest countries have to go first. That means they have to take the mandatory and binding targets, but not the developing countries. So, that argument will be fought pretty hard.

STEPHEN SCHNEIDER: Well, if you’re going to ask your kids to turn the lights out in order to be efficient, I think the first step is that the parents ought to do it and set the example and we’ve been the biggest polluters for a long time. Remember, up until a few years ago, 80 per cent of the accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over time came from the 20 per cent of the world’s richest people. If we don’t take a first step to do it, how do we have any credibility to ask them to do anything?

But I do think we have a right to ask them to take mandatory targets, I’ve always agreed with that. The problem is, I don’t think we have to ask them to pay exactly the same amount at the beginning. That would almost be a gross violation of any decency, given how far ahead we were.


0 Responses to “A dilemma in the climate change response”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

October 2007
« Sep   Nov »

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photos

Blog Stats

  • 8,338 hits

%d bloggers like this: