Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Durban and everything that matters - The Economist on climate talks and the long view

"A hundred years from now, looking back, the only question that will appear important about the historical moment in which we now live is the question of whether or not we did anything to arrest climate change. Everything else—the financial crisis, the life or death of the euro, authoritarianism or democracy in China and Russia, the Great Stagnation or the innovation renaissance, democratisation and/or political Islam in the Arab world, Newt or Mitt or another four years of Barack—all this will fade into insignificance beside the question of whether we managed to do anything about human industrial civilisation changing the climate of Planet Earth..."

How many people do you know, who've been impacted by the past year's floods and other weather disasters? Know anyone with stock in Toyota? ("Toyota Motor Corp., poised to lose its crown as the world's largest carmaker this year, cut its profit forecast 54 percent after Thailand's worst floods (but see 2012-07 update below) in almost 70 years disrupted production.") Insurance companies?
(for those impelled to note that no single event can be laid at the feet of climate change: see fractional risk attribution. (or (update) the mid-2012 NOAA report; Texas drought said to be many times more likely, because of climate change))

* 2012-07 update/correction:  while projections (and ocean salinity data) do indicate that dry areas will (and do) get drier and wet areas wetter, a July 2012 NOAA report - looking at (and finding) links between some recent extreme weather events and climate change - did not find the 2011 floods in Thailand to be linked to climate change.

"We will be judged by those who come after us, both by what we did do and what we didn't do, in the time given to us."

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