DISCUSSION Tilting at Windmills

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______24th June 2008
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by Tony Manwaring

So now a big chunk of the UK public thinks climate change is being exaggerated (40%) and even more don’t believe it’s ‘man’-made (60%). And two thirds want politicians to do more. Thanks to the Observer, for cheering up my Sunday morning, not!

This got me thinking, not least because this week, together with the Centre for Social Markets, we are launching a programme of UK-India business dialogues on climate change in the House of Commons, which I will be co-hosting with the brilliant Malini Mehra.

These findings give new meaning to the phrase ’tilting at windmills’!

And then someone said something which made a lot of sense of the problem, and how we might tackle it.

As you know, we are gearing up for forceforgood’s launch in mid-July, and webmeister Ivor arranged for Mark Goyder and I to have a session with ‘iconic blogger’, Mick Fealty: well worth a visit to Slugger O’Toole

(Mick, I said, how to describe you? Tony, he said, “what was that phrase you used before, ‘iconic blogger’. Fine by me”)

We’ve moved from the age of ‘Trust me’ to ‘show me’. People don’t believe the experts, you have to show them. And how do you do that when, by then, the Thames barrier has been breached, AND IT’S TOO B- LATE!?

Mick’s a wise guy, and offered part of the answer – which is a challenge not just to the climate change ‘movement’ but to all of us. Let the sceptics challenge, let’s work through the answers together, we all need to own and create solutions that work.

Let’s be honest about it, none of us can be absolutely, absolutely certain – but you know what, since I wrote that coming back home on the tube tonight, I got an email from the ‘human glouon‘ Dianne Dillon-Ridgley from America sharing James Hansen’s latest address on clmate change .

 

In his presentation at the National Press Club, and briefing to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, on 23rd June 2008, he says  “Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99%”.  He goes on to conclude:  “the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than two degress Celsius is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation.”  (Dr Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, but is giving this address as a private citizen)
As Hansen acknowledges, we are living at a time when there is a “wide gap between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known by policy makers and the public.”  Indeed!

 

So, ok, it’s not absolutely, totally certain, but one thing is for sure: if we don’t change how we engage with each other, we won’t bridge this chasm and develop ways of tackling it: being proven right will offer cold (or hot) comfort.

Mick Fealty was talking about engaging in the world of 2.0 – but he’s also talking about how we need to tackle climate change.  As Hansen most dramatically underlines, we’re all in it together, quite literally.

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