Today there will be an entirely predictable and pointless media circus. Well, there will be several – every day brings new clowns, jugglers and high-wire acts.
Today though, the fifth assessment report of the United Nations’ “IPCC” climate body will be promoted, attacked, defended, re-attacked blah de blah de blah.
“Glaciers” this, “sea level rise” that. “Droughts” here, “not happening” there. Natural cycles, paused, El-Nino. Yawn.
Six years ago I was at the Royal Society event in London where over two days the authors of the last report (AR4) laid out their work. Two things I remember very clearly – they massively underestimated the speed and scale of change in the Arctic. And a very prominent scientist (Susan Solomon) kept replying to the question “how long have we got?” with the very cryptic and terrifying phrase “It’s later than you think.”
Amid all the media scrum, remember this – as Noam Chomsky points out, there are actually three positions on climate. There’s a few very loud and well-funded denialists “it’s not happening”. There’s the formal process (IPCC) and then there is a significant body of scientists who think that things are WORSE than the IPCC paints.
Finally – change doesn’t come from documents. If it did, Manchester’s future would be far more certain, given the local climateriat’s love of refreshes and reboots, half-arsed implementation plans that never get, um, implemented.
Change comes from people getting together and creating sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
For more on Chomsky, see this video