A lot of work has been done since to understand why climate change is so uniquely paralysing, most prominently by George Marshall, author of the book Don’t Even Think About It. Marshall describes climate change as “a perfect and undetectable crime everyone contributes to but for which no one has a motive”. Climate change is both too near and too far for us to be able to internalise: too near because we make it worse with every minute act of our daily lives; too far because until now it has been something that affects foreign people in foreign countries, or future versions of ourselves that we can only conceive of ephemerally. It is also too massive. The truth is if we don’t take action on climate change now, the food shortages, mass migration and political turmoil it will cause could see the collapse of civilisation in our lifetimes. Which of us can live with that knowledge? It’s not surprising, then, that some years ago climate activists switched to a message of optimism. But the message of optimism has done is create a giant canyon between the reality of climate change and most people’s perception of it. An optimistic message has led to complacency – “people are saying it’s doable so it will probably be fine” – and championing success stories has convinced people that the pathetic, threadbare action taken by governments so far is sufficient. I’ve lost count of the sheer number of politically engaged, conscientious people I’ve met who have simply no idea how high the stakes are. Could the language of emergency work? It has never been tried with as much meteorological evidence as we have now, and we’ve never had a target as clear and unanimous as the one agreed in Paris. The one thing I know is that the events of the last few months have changed the game, and this is the moment to start debating a new way to talk about climate change. It may be that if the time for a mass movement is not now, there won’t be one.
Guardian 21st Sept 2017 read more »
Experts have warned that we must move much more quickly towards a low-carbon world, if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century. Changes in electricity, heat, buildings, industry and transport are needed rapidly and must happen all together, according to researchers at the universities of Manchester, Sussex and Oxford in a new study published in the journal ‘Science’. “Current rates of change are simply not enough. We need to accelerate transitions, deepen their speed and broaden their reach. Otherwise there can be no hope of reaching a 2 degree target, let alone 1.5 degrees. This piece reveals that the acceleration of transitions across the sociotechnical systems of electricity, heat, buildings, manufacturing, and transport requires new approaches, analyses and research methods.”
Scotland B2B 21st Sept 2017 read more »