The Great Debate UK
- John Reid MP, formerly UK Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Defence, is the Chairman of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College, London. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Barack Obama’s announcement that there will be no all-encompassing protocol agreed at Copenhagen underlines that climate change is perhaps the most complex issue facing the world today. In part, this is because it involves long-term thinking and modeling which our existing political, financial and economic institutions and governance frameworks are ill-designed and configured to grapple with and resolve.
With uncertainty building over what, if anything, the Copenhagen Summit can still achieve, now is therefore the time to remind ourselves about some of the larger stakes in play next month at what has been billed by some as the most important environmental summit in world history.
We know already that climate change will impact upon our quality of life and have potentially profound consequences for future generations through, for instance, the impact of rising sea levels, and more extreme weather. In the medium-term, the Stern Review estimates the overall impact on GDP could be 5 to 20 percent from 2050.
from Environment Forum:
As hopes for reaching a binding agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen summit die, climate negotiators could learn useful lessons on how to structure the negotiations from the multiple rounds of trade talks within the GATT/WTO framework.
Climate negotiations are about limiting carbon dioxide emissions, but the negotiators are also hammering out a complex economic instrument that will define the distribution of production, energy use and income in the next few decades. It is the agreement's profound economic effects that are making it so hard to reach a final deal.
– Roger Martin is a former diplomat and leading environmentalist. He is now Chairman of the Optimum Population Trust. Any views expressed are his own -
I’ve been an environmental campaigner for 20 years, and can confidently summarise all our problems as ‘too many people consuming too much stuff.’ But in all those worthy meetings about all those worthy green projects, I’ve noticed that everyone talks about the stuff, like consuming less energy rather than providing more; and no-one talks about the people, the number of consumers.
- Hannah Chalmers is a postgraduate researcher at the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey. All views expressed are her own -
This week the International Energy Agency launched a series of detailed technology roadmaps covering 19 technologies that are expected to be important in mitigating the risk of dangerous of climate change. One of these was for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
- Bjorn Lomborg is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He is the organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which brings together some of the world’s top economists, including 5 Nobel laureates, to set priorities for the world. The opinions expressed are his own. -
In this blog, I would like to share with you some of the best – and worst – ways to fix climate change. This is important because the Earth is warming up, increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide are contributing to this warming, and humankind is dumping ever-increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
from The Great Debate:
Davos leaders have traditionally looked to the long term and have largely been keen on helping all nations of the world to benefit from economic development. But with politicians and businesses tied up with short term concerns about the economic crisis there's a risk at least that efforts to spread development and to ward against the threat of climate change may go on hold, at least for a time. Reuters News asked delegates at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting to share their thoughts on whether we should be concerned about development and sustainability slipping down the global agenda.
from UK News:
The government has approved the third Heathrow runway, in the interests of jobs and British competitiveness.
The third runway -- something airport operator BAA pledged it would not seek if it was granted permission to build Terminal 5 -- will open up a sharp political divide, with several Labour MPs, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed to the idea.
Pope Benedict took an unconventional approach today to stand up to what he sees as gender-bending, saying protecting heterosexuality was as important as saving the rainforest. (Photo: Pope Benedict addresses the Curia, 22 Dec 2008/Max Rossi)
"(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration."The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."
Andrew Simms is policy director and head of the climate change programme at the London-based New Economics Foundation. The opinions expressed are his own.
Nothing reveals the thin veneer of civilisation like a threat to its fuel or food supply, or the cracks in society like a major climate-related disaster. But that, increasingly, is what we face: the global peak and decline of oil production; and a global food chain in crisis due to multiple stresses including imminent, potentially irreversible global warming.
from UK News:
Environmental protest group Plane Stupid manage to prevent at least 21 flights taking off when they invaded a runway at Stansted airport for five hours on Monday morning.
The group are protesting over the government's decision to allow the expansion of Stansted Airport with a second runway. The protest also follows the decision last week by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to delay the decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow until January.