Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah acted on flood warnings

The IPCC's warning rings loud and clear in their report on the impact of climate change. They find that climate change is already being felt in all corners of the globe and some parts of the natural world may already be undergoing irreversible change.

The prudent response is to reduce the risk of further damage, get out of harm's way, or prepare for the worst. 

Noah prepared for the worst, but most of our leaders can't quite get their heads around the problem. Progressives are moving forward timidly, conservatives prefer to look to the past rather than the future, and those in thrall to fossil fuel incumbents are busy denying there's any problem at all.

Instead, the incumbents have managed (quite successfully) to cast doubt over specific and detailed forecasts to suggest that the risk either does not exist, or can be safely ignored - as though people should decide not to insure their house because the insurer couldn’t tell them when and how damage might occur.

As the effects of climate change begin to bite more sharply, perhaps we'll all move along the spectrum – progressives will adopt urgency, conservatives will move forward carefully, and the fossil-fuel incumbents will do an about-turn and cast about for a way to be relevant in the new clean energy future.

The sooner we all act like Noah and take the warnings seriously, the less damage we'll cause. And that will be good for the millions who live in low-lying river deltas. Millions of Bangladeshis who have nowhere else to go will be able to stay home. And wouldn't that be a good thing, especially for governments who are allergic to the thought of a million little arks sailing in their direction.

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