4fooey

January 1, 2009

A new year, a time for urgent action

Filed under: Environment, Politics/News — Tags: , — 4fooey @ 12:13 am

On the Today programme (31 Dec, on Radio 4 in the UK) Jarvis Cocker was the guest editor. He interviewed Nicholas (Lord) Stern about climate change and how lessons can be learned from the action that has been taken in the response to the financial crisis. He also pointed out the contrast between President Bush and the president to be Obama regarding their response to climate change. The interview with Stern is reported here: Stern hope over US climate deal.

Stern pointed out that the financial crisis shows us that the longer we leave a problem or ignore a risk then the worse a crisis can become and the harder it is to resolve it. The same can be said on climate change — if we leave it too long to act then it will be more difficult to solve it, and more costly in financial terms and its effect on the planet. He also suggested that the need to solve the climate change issue represents a great opportunity for technology, science and business, on a level with the industrial revolution.

Stern suggested that the financial crisis has been large in magnitude, but suggested that the issue of climate change is far bigger, in terms of the effort and commitment required. He was however very optimistic that is could be solved, but stressed that it would require so-far unseen collaboration, across governments and international agencies. Given that in crisis situations, wars and such like, countries tend to act in their own self interest, this will be a huge challenge for the world, but one we must attempt and meet. The scale of the challenge cannot be underestimated, but it’s looking increasingly like we have absolutely no option but to take up the challenge.

Jarvis Cocker ended his stint as editor of the Today programme with an assessment of his interview with Stern. Cocker felt we are at a turning point and that we have interesting times ahead. Acknowledging that the financial crisis will effect a lot of people, he was very optimistic about our capacity to solve the climate change issue and that people would be able to adapt. Maybe if you resolve to do one thing this year it should be to ‘do your bit’ for climate change, and then hope the US, China and other governments can reach a historic and binding agreement later in 2009 to tackle climate change: the time for urgent action is now.

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