Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The War against a powerful enemy - the Climate

We have a powerful enemy who is attacking us with water bombs and has already damaged thousands of houses, disrupted transport, damaged our food supply, and done perhaps billions of pounds damage. Our leaders appear unafraid
Think action can just be delayed
     Yet we see climate change
     Means the weather is strange
And the future, of course, is betrayed
 A year ago the same enemy attacked Australia with heat bombs while the United States has been attacked by wind bombs and more recently ice bombs. What is worse is that the enemy has a paymaster who is providing the means to construct even more powerful weapons. In fact this enemy already has enough resources to continue even more powerful attacks for maybe a hundred years or more.

If this was a human enemy we would have already declared war, and blockaded the paymaster.  But it is not a human enemy. The enemy is the climate, and we are the paymaster by using more and more fossil fuel!

While there may be public relation style sound bytes from our leaders their response to the dangers remind me of Lloyd George's conclusions about the outbreak of the First World War. He wrote:
"The nations slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war without any trace of apprehension or dismay."
The problem is that we are all trapped in boxes which restrict our options. Most obviously we cannot run away from the Earth to some other heavenly body. And while there is talk about the problem at the International and national levels what is actually done shows that our leaders have no real understanding of the seriousness of the emergency but, like Nero, fiddle away playing their own factional tunes.

At the grass roots level we are (nearly all) addicted to paying the paymaster, while those we elect to rule us are addicted to the ballot box, and pander to the strident calls of those who have not yet suffered in the attacks. Few are capable of demonstrating competence in science and appear to have learnt their leadership skills from the Duke of Plaza-Toro who In enterprise of martial kind, When there was any fighting, He led his regiment from behind (He found it less exciting).

This means that they will kowtow to those who have suffered, rather than organize a planned retreat to a defensible position. It will be interesting to see the long term (= up to next election) reactions to the current floods. If I buy a shop and then go out of business because a new supermarket is built nearby nobody pays me compensation. People who have bet on a looser, even if it looked to be a dead cert, are loosers. That is a fact of life. If someone buys a house on a flood plain because they like to be near a river and changes in the flow of the river make it it uninhabitable in the long term that should be their hard luck. Of course money needs to be spent on fighting the enemy, but this can only be done if we draw suitable battle lines, as would be done if we were fighting a "real war" with human enemies. If some areas along the coast and along our river banks have to become no mans land it will avoid us pouring good money after bad.

We must also stop spending billions preparing to fight the last war, with billions being spent on Trident - and new aircraft carries when we are getting on quite well at present without one. Plans to build more airports (which are efficient ways of paying the climates paymaster) need to be reconsidered. Silly ideas of building one on tidal flats should be laughed out of court. If in the First World War someone had proposed building an airfield in no mans land they would probably have been shot for treason - but perhaps not as Lloyd George's quote really illustrates that the idea of having incompetent leaders is nothing new.

We also have to stop paying the paymaster as individuals. In 1990 I flew To Australia in a Box. The purpose of the journey was to provide a system which would hold and index scientific information on issues relating to climate change and on the way I wrote an article relating to the impact my journey was having on the environment. However my journey was wasted as the project was cancelled as being unnecessary, apparently because our leaders considered that it would never happen.

If we are ever to win the battle against an increasingly unpredictable and unfriendly climate we need real leaders at the helm - and not ones who are unable to put the common good against narrow sectional interests.

Some Hope ...

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