You probably weren’t even waiting to be asked.
A question of immense historical importance.
Knowing what we know about climate change, how should we choose to live?
You weren’t asked. I wasn’t asked. No one was asked.
Odd really, given the enormity of the issue. Odder still, when we are supposedly free citizens of a democratic society.
No, we weren’t asked. We were told.
We were told by the same people who told us Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. We were told by the same people who promised us we had entered a new financial age of eternal milk and honey.
We were told:
You want to live in a world two degrees hotter than it has been for the last 10,000 years.
All the climate policies, all the carbon footprinting, all the windfarms? All designed to keep warming the world. Yes, to keep warming the world.
And then, when we have got enough greenhouse gases in the atmosphere we will, as though the world is just one big oven, stop any more warming. Just turn the warming off.
Why two degrees? Apparently climate change won’t become dangerous until after this point. Safe at 1.99 degrees. Safe at 2 degrees. Dangerous at 2.0001 degrees.
Convenient. A nice even round number. That makes things easier.
It’s also very convenient that it’s not a lower number. Two degrees. That might give us enough time to make some magic machines which will allow life to carry on as normal and get rid of all that nasty climate change stuff.
How do we know that this is the dangerous limit?
Because the scientists have worked it out. At least that is what the politicians, journalists and environmental campaigners tell us.
Here’s a typical example, taken from a Guardian editorial shared with 56 other newspapers in Europe.
‘The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C’
It’s a lie. It is not a scientific fact.
Deciding to warm the world by an average of two degrees is an opinion. There is no ‘two degree dangerous limit’ for everyone. The world, people, ecosystems are all too complex, too varied, to be reduced to such a simple measure.
If the science tells us anything it is this.
Two degrees is too much. The world’s coral reefs bleach into extinction at 1 degree. The weather is already going haywire http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/03/22/448839/march-madness-unprecedented-event-modern-us-weather-records-began/
And we are only at 0.8 degrees of warming.
Climate policy has been dominated by the myth of a single dangerous limit. To no avail. The rate of emissions continues to set new records. We couldn’t be warming faster if we tried.
The single dangerous limit idea is an oppressive lie, that has emanated from the powerful institutions of the West. It must be resisted.
A new way of talking and thinking about climate change is long overdue.
I will set out some options for this new way of thinking on this blog.
It’s gonna be a long, complex and difficult path.