Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is climate change the war to end all wars?

The Guardian's Rosie Boycott gives an impassioned plea on behalf of concerned middle class mothers for action on climate change.

The wording is evocative and takes the moral high ground. In a sense it is politics and by extension economics that is getting in the way.

On the subject of action from the UK government Rosie gets it spot on:

The government still seems to be terrified of motorists, frequent flyers and second home-owners, and is far too timid to take any measures that begin to address the scale of the problem.

Labour are right to be timid. It is tough to blame the government when the vast majority of voters are motorists. Governments are elected to serve the people and the people want cheap petrol. It is a classic tragedy of the commons case.

Here are two of the more passionate paragraphs.

The war to end all wars [Guardian]

How do you define a war? There is the disastrous one that Britain is waging in Iraq, involving tanks and guns and the lives of our young men and women. There is the kind the government claims it is waging variously against poverty, terror, and obesity. But the greatest threat to us all, global warming - a threat far greater than any airborne disease or foreign dictator - has yet to be elevated to war status. Day by day, before our eyes, the planet is deteriorating: ice caps are melting, weather systems shifting, and the poorest are finding themselves facing life-threatening water shortages. Our wildlife is suffering, species are being lost before our children even have a chance to witness them in all their beauty.


After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in 1941, the US threw its might behind the war machine, transforming its industries overnight. The bounties of my entire life as a postwar baby have come as a direct result of that giant political will bending towards the common good. Now my daughter's generation demands the same drastic intervention if they are to enjoy the same kind of future.

It can be done and we know the enemy. But where, on our increasingly fragile earth, is the leadership?

Where indeed.


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