Sunday, 7 February 2010

climate change?


News this week that is no surprise.

There has been a shift in British public attitude to global warming - with an increased number considering themselves sceptical.

This should come as no surprise.

We have seen our world leaders fail to unequivocally give us a direction on climate change at Copenhagen. We need to leadership, and in the absence of a strong commitment, there will be those who question.

In Britain, we have just come through a cold spell (the coldest in thirty years) and people may ask how our world can be warming when the winter is so cold.
the answer to this latter point is the difference between weather and climate: weather will change frequently but climate relates to much longer term change.

And we now live in an urban world where the connection between the natural world and our day-to-day worlds has been fractured. It is a minority of people who grow their own food or whose lives have any contact with the environment in any meaningful way. People do not see how rapidly plant and animal populations have changed over a short time period - significant indicators. The threat is not immediate and the causal link between greenhouse gasses and a warming world are too long in time for us to comprehend.

For me this is no problem. I do not live in sub-Saharan Africa where it now difficult to provide food for the family. I do not rely for my life on Polar Ice. My own home is not at risk of flooding as rivers struggle to hold the run off from flash floods.

But for many of our world population of people, plants and animals the change in our climate is real and far reaching.

In Australia, where they have just seen the worst drought in living memory and terrible bush fires raging out of control, there is now a rising political denial of climate change.

We have some real convincing to do to ensure that sufficient pressure is kept on our leaders by an informed population. The alternative is too frightening to think about. The challenge goes on.



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