Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Warming Attitudes...

These last few days I feel like there's been a true hurricane of climate change in the press. It is truly amazing that the issue has jumped so far up the mainstream press ladder. Unfortunately it doens't look like the usual skeptics and deniers will be convinced. That was not to be expected. After all the Stern report is not on the science of climate change but on the economics.

So, to attack the report on the science is pointless. This Stern report is on money, wellfare, hard cash and how to make sure we all keep having it.

Obviously Sir Nicholas Stern has become a communist, stalinist, socialist, etc, etc. In the eyes of some anyway. We can leave those and focus on the more constructive feedback. There will be no magic bullet and the inherant uncertainty in climate science means we need to reduce risks without going back to living in caves. As Sir Stern said, it is about probability.

The BBC has some video on their website of news footage around the presentation of the report and the response of the international community.

Roger Pielke has a debate going on his site as well: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/

What is interesting is the press release from MIT on changing behaviours in North America towards climate change.

"Almost three-quarters of the respondents felt the government should do more to deal with global warming, and individuals were willing to spend their own money to help."

That sounds good. It looks like people are starting to see the issue and understand the importance of taking action. What else did this study tell us?

"The other big change is a substantial increase in people’s willingness to spend their own money to do something about it. In 2003, people were willing to pay on average $14 more per month on their electricity bill to “solve” global warming. In 2006 they agreed to pay $21 more per month—a 50 percent increase in their willingness to pay.
Could $21 make a real difference? Assuming 100 million U.S. households, total payments would be $25 billion per year. "That's real money," said Herzog. "While it cannot solve the whole problem, it can certainly make significant strides."


It's a start. However, it is clear that more will be needed. Much more. Plenty of educating still to do. But then Americans (and Europeans) already pay for the occupation of Iraq. Costs that could be included in the total cost of gasoline or petrol... Although the occupation of Iraq is about more than just oil. There's another fluid at stake there...

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