James Hansen is the go-to guy for climate change. In 1981 his work put climate change on the front page of the New York Times. In June 1988 he spoke out when other climate scientists were too cautious, too scared for their jobs, and said “It’s time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.”
Here’s what he just said about Paris;
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
Look. There are some of us who need to be lied to, who need to believe the soothing words of our leaders. Our leaders have been making promises about climate change since a meeting in March 1989 at the Hague. They made more promises at the Second World Climate Conference in November 1990. They made more promises at the 1992 “Earth Summit” – which agreed the following;
They made more promises at Kyoto in 1997, more again in 2009 at Copenhagen.
All worthless words.
In Manchester, we have our own worthless words – the fine promises of the 2009 Manchester Climate Change Action Plan. And the worthless words of a Council that promised it would have even 60 of its own councillors “carbon literate” by the end of 2014. [And that in the context of the promise that 1 million people woul be ‘carbon literate’ by the end of 2013.]
And the worthless words of an Executive Member for the Environment who promised to start blogging, and then didn’t.
All worthless words.
Some of us need to believe, it seems.
A series of predictions for 2016
- Generally, it will become harder to “mobilise” people now that fine promises have been made. Most people want/need to believe that our lords and masters are competent, are aware of the problems and are doing something about them. The alternative – that we are slouching towards catastrophe as playthings of sociopaths- is too shocking, too horrible.
- The established and new-ish groups will continue to pursue their information-deficit model of “mobilising” people. They will retain only a small handful of those people who come to their meetings. They will make no meaningful efforts to find out what skills their putative supporters/members have, what skills they would LIKE to have. They will continue to organise boring top-down meetings that act as invisible filters, excluding all but the politicised, the students, and the middle-classes.
- Manchester City Council will continue to paint itself as responsible and concerned. It will stage a charade of a “consultation” and a “refresh” on the failed Manchester Climate Change Action Plan. Many of those who participate will be ignorant of the roots of the Plan and the causes of its failure. Shamefully, some of those who take part in the consultation and the circus around it will be strategically silent, since telling the truth is a crime in Manchester, and it would get them excluded from the circles that they think matter.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. We can rely on the Council to be unwilling to admit mistakes, or to learn from failure. That’s the nature of its bureaucratic and political ossification.
But the social movement organsiations could, in theory, be more brave, more nimble, more innovative. But they won’t be, for various reasons. Carpe the bloody diems.
UPDATE: THIS –