I watched a laughable piece of celeb news last night (hey, it's not my fault if the nation's news media now consider celeb gossip to be news stories) about Keisha Castle-Hughes going on a Pacific tour to "document the effects of climate change," courtesy of Greenpeace.
Apparently, it's worth the carbon footprint of sending a boat around the Pacific Islands so that Castle-Hughes can hear old codgers claiming the weather was much better when they were kids, or witness the strangely localised effects of "sea level rise," because she's encouraging the Islanders to hassle John Key about the next Kyoto round when he visits.
"Greenpeace ... are using celebrities like Ms Castle-Hughes" (a direct quote!) to promote govts commiting to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. I'm not sure why this unrealistic figure was chosen over others (why not 80% by 2015?), but the previous Kyoto round should have taught Greenpeace something by now: getting govts to sign agreements is one thing, getting them to abide by them is another.
I don't actually have strong views either way on climate change (unlike my wife, who's a scientist and therefore has very strong opinions on the politicisation of scientific opinion going on in this area.) For one thing, I don't have the necessary skills to interpret the research (and given the politicisation of that research, you bet it needs interpreting). It certainly seems straightforward that if we continue putting CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we are, it will cause changes and those changes are unlikely to be pleasant ones. Set against that though are various equally straightforward factors such as:
1. People won't voluntarily make drastic changes to their lives without some clear and present danger to force it.
2. Govts are accountable to the people, and their performance is measured to a great extent on the state of the economy. If responding to climate change = putting a serious brake on the economy, forget it.
In other words - if climate change really does start to have a clearly demonstrable and indisputable effect, then we might see some action. Before that? Nuttin.