Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let's put the economy first

Imagine this: somebody saying there is no point in saving the planet if we impoverish it economically. That's the gist of certain arguments made by American politicians in Bali, which finally produced an agreement so diluted as to be practically worthless.

I do think the human race has lost a very basic grasp of reality, particularly in the West. We seem to have gone so far down the route of so-called "advancement" we've forgotten the basic building blocks of life itself: food, shelter and an atmosphere we can survive in. Global warming - whether man made or not - threatens all of those things. And yes, a few degrees warming makes all the difference.

I'm still dumbstruck by those who accept global warming is reality, but refuse to take any responsibility for it. It's not mankind's fault, they say. We're arrogant to think we can affect the environment in this way. Well, if we're arrogant enough to concrete it over when it suits us, or to over-fish seas, clear vast amounts of forest, strip resources from the ground and then pump all that methane, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air, we ought to accept responsibility for it. Everything we do impacts on the environment around us, so to pretend that six billion humans (six times the number of just 120 years ago) aren't at least partly to blame for this rapid rise in temperature is disingenuous to say the least, and downright irresponsible at best. It's here, it's our fault and we need to start facing up to the realities of dealing with it.

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