Thursday, February 01, 2007

Climate Change: The Nature of the Solutions

My previous post outlines the nature of the challenge that climate change poses us. Bellow i describe my thought on some key aspects of how we will take up this challenge and give future historians like Jared Diamond something to wonder about: just how where we able to maintain our global civilisation?


Climate Change: The Nature of the Solutions

We can bring the human race through this challenge thanks to the fruit of the carbon based industrial revolution.

Faced with the current challenges I do not believe that any previous civilisation could have survived. We can, and we will, for several powerfully ironic reasons. Possibly the strongest irony to come out of human civilisation thus far.

Fossil fuels have powered a socio-technical development that represents the combined intelligence of several billion humans, and the invested energy of more work than these people could possibly have achieved if it where not for earths natural capital—if it where not for the very carbon based fuels that now threaten our wealth and ultimately our survival. Moreover the very corporations that through there very power have stressed the earth to its utmost limits are in fact so enslaved to the markets that they promise an almost instantaneous way to access the entire global fabric of society.

There is space, however much governments seem determined to avoid it, for a genuine global political settlement. A framework, simple in its it details, but truly ambitious in its scope. Cap global emissions, plot out a carbon pathway for stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations and throw out the neo-liberal dogma of economics as a system of governance. Enslave the market and put it to good use. Achieving this settlement must surely be the goal of every conscious citizen with the knowledge and means to act. We must support contraction of global emissions and convergence of national emissions rights on a per capita basis. All are born equal, who would agree to a system other than one that affirms this foundation of ethics?

Scorched by the rampant exploitation of global citizens and natural resources by unregulated multi-nationals many seek to disband this motley crew of mercenaries. Much like a cliched Hollywood film, we require one last task of them before society can establish a more decentralised and localised system of power. We must harness this power.

We must simultaneously grow as we might from our roots and start implementing local, communal, low carbon solutions now. Here the second great irony of our times comes in. Local, communal low carbon action is facilitated by the transfer to information globally by amazingly advanced technologies developed by the very carboniferous forms of energy that we now seek to supplant.

The world is full of false dichotomies. Full of questions that have both answers, and a few more not looked for. We have a perilously small period of time to achieve a great deal, we have the means to fend off the threat but we must deal with every level of the hierarchy, and radically strengthen currently week levels.

Personally, if you have the ability to reduce your own carbon footprint then you have the responsibility to do so. Households, have this same responsibility. Where in our society is there space for local community action, we need far more such places, so called third spaces, not work and not home. Experience shows that such groups can achieve far more than individuals can acting alone. Small, medium, large businesses all have roles to play. Councils have a role, sub national and national government have a role.

Climate change mitigation is a very inclusive and very serious game, we have room for CEO's, council leaders, MP's, community activists, small business people, protesters, media and many others. The only ban enforced is on the apathetic and unambitious. We have a race to win, it's time fore everyone to get there trainers on!

The Previous Article (1 of 2) is here.

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Climate Change Action

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