Saturday, February 22, 2014

147.1 - Good news: Strong words from Kerry on climate change

Good news: Strong words from Kerry on climate change

On February 16, Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," and described those who do not accept the science as "shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues," and said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to "hijack" the climate debate.

Wow. He actually said that? And this came just two days after China and the US, the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases, announced they had agreed to intensify information-sharing and policy discussions about their plans to limit their emissions after 2020. Saying "limits" instead of "reductions" and "after 2020" instead of "now" is hardly encouraging, but at least it's something, at least it indicates some growing awareness - significantly, on the part of China - of the problem. Apparently, I'm in a mood to be optimistic.

There is a dark cloud over this: In his speech, made in the middle of a trip to Asia and the Middle East, Kerry also said that it made no sense for some nations to act to stem climate change while others did nothing. Which is an invitation to do nothing on the grounds that no need act until everyone else does, no one need be first. I have more than once described the Obama White House as one where the words soar but the deeds crawl.

Comments on the article were of course chock-a-block with the usual claptrap, but that's almost to be expected - some, too many, people simply are unwilling to be inconvenienced in any way for the sake of future generations. A number of them used the increasingly-popular line that "oh big deal, the climate is always changing" - remember, these are the same sort of people who not long ago would have been insisting that the climate was not changing - but now it's "we have ice ages, we have warm periods, the climate is always changing." As if no one had ever noticed that before.

Well, just in case any of you other there are among the nanny-nanny naysayers for who no amount of scientific evidence will ever be enough, I want to ask you this:

If people in a town started to get sick and die of a certain disease and a mountain of evidence was presented to show that a certain person had put the bacterial agent involved in that disease in the town's water supply, would you insist that no, that couldn't be true, no human agent could be involved, because people have been dying of disease for as long as there have been people?

Because that is exactly your logic when you deny the reality of present human-driven climate change on the grounds that the Earth also has seen natural periods of warming and cooling.


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