Monday, February 06, 2006

Climate Change; How much progress are we making?

For those of us Campaigning on Climate Change, and trying to get real action on climate change mitigation the prospects can at times look poor.

This perception is due to several factors; firstly there is a hell of a lot of progress that needs to be made in both energy conservation, efficiency and decarbonisation, secondly the general public belief in climate change as an issue appears relatively poor, and finally there appear to be systemic problems with society as a whole. It is unclear whether progress can be made while fast cars, holidays in the sun and big houses are all status symbols...consumption is the cult and alternatives appear marginalised.

Progress however is not always easy to see, if we look carefully there
are many positive signs.

Continued...In order to achieve emissions reductions we need both behavioral and technological change, these are likely to occur as a result of both growing public opinion and strong government action. So our challenge can be seen as having two stages, creating a will for action, preferably in the public but just as importantly in the policy makers, then the challenge of creating the plans and putting them into action. Looking at these three areas more closely we see the beginning of the end for current un-sustainable practices.

In the policy arena international negotiations are a pivotal stage. Montreal was the largest conference ever about an international convention, beating the scale of the infamous Kyoto meeting significantly, not only with government representation but also with numerous
interested civil groups. In the UK party-politics is playing a constructive role for once, the government- finding it hard to meet its targets for greenhouse gas cuts has come under increasingly strong pressure from all opposition parties.

There is also a huge amount of capacity building in advisory organizations and think tanks, this is vital for implementing and extending upon many of the policies that are currently just getting started.

It is starting to look clear that climate change is only a growing issue for consideration, particularly with the seconf phase of the EU-ETS coming into force in 2008 businesses are being forced to address there carbon intensity.

We are a long way down the road of getting the political will and the
business consciousness, implementing policies is where we are going next, and scale up of current measures is widely built in to existing frameworks, more radical changes are expected and are being planned for by business.
Public opinion on climate change has few stronger correlates than age. This is not to
supprising given the time scale over which climate change has been talked about
as a significant and real problem as opposed to a theoretical risk.Media coverage has recently inceased to a level where ignorance of climate change is becoming more or less impossible, denial is rapidly becoming the last refuge for those unhappy with the necessary constraints that climate change place on our lives It is taken for granted now that climate change is mentioned in the news on a weekly basis and that likewise, broadsheet coverage has improved dramatically.

The last area to look at is actually changing behavior and implementing energy saving.
The rate of these changes will have to be rapid, but our views of
progress attainable in the near future should not be based on the recent past. Even five years ago many of the organizations providing advice, funding and support didn't even exist.
The fact that policies must be produced that recognize a carbon-constrained environment is the de facto manner in which business is now been carried out, you could not have said this five years ago. At the recent world economic forum the following themes where addressed and once the US has it own emissions trading scheme in place (which is predicted within the next 5 years) the whole situation will again get a lot more serious for businesses.

Climate Change Action

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