Friday, July 15, 2011

Untackling Climate Change

Sir John Beddington's message on climate change, and how events outside the UK will affect us in the UK, is an interesting read for the language it uses.

For a start, it appears to accept that climate change is inevitable, and that adapting to it is more important than "preventing" it. Have we reached the tipping point not in terms of scientific effect, but of moral mastery? Is this a sign of a reality that has failed to deal with an unseeable threat?

Perhaps this ties in with a second observation - that climate change is indeed still seen as an "external threat" which acts upon us like an invading enemy. That we are "vulnerable" to it, rather than it is merely an effect of our actions. That we must "tackle" it, rather than change anything about what we think already. Like a good horror story, it is only too late that we finally wake up and realise that the problem is nothing to do with the outside, but was inside our very noses all this time.

Finally, the solution wheeled out comes down to money and markets - yup, if there's a solution out there, we should be the ones to profit from it. The idea that technological innovation will not only a) save the world, but also b) get everyone to give us money for doing so is like something out of any good sci-fi story with a Jesus complex.

The split between "us" and "them" is no longer of use. There is no "outside" or "inside" the UK - ideas, money, harmful gases and luxury goods now flow freely around the planet. Our society is connected, but the political mechanisms we try to find solutions with are anything but.

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