Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
Friendly old girl of a town
'Neath her tavern light
On this merry night
Let us clink and drink one down
To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Isn’t Danny Kaye great. He was the creator of some of the most spectacular pieces of reassuring schmaltz ever to grace the silver screen. Happy endings were a speciality. Comforting bits of crap. Is that what the Copenhagen Treaty will be too, a reassuring waste of time, or worse, a disastrous distraction?

Are we honestly expecting all the deeply vested interests involved to suddenly see the light, or rather the dark of the looming climate catastrophe, and change their positions by 360 degrees? It just isn’t going to happen, is it? Never. No way. It’s going to take something truly awful to scare the shit out of us all before our collective fingers will be pulled out.

Our climate is now in uncharted territory, doing things we’ve never seen before, breaking records. The climate record is showing us that things can change very quickly once the system’s equilibrium has been disturbed. In months, not decades or centuries. Time is not a luxury we can afford.

When will we act? When the shit hits the fan, of course. Will it be Katrina’s very big sister wiping Miami off the map? Or the halt of the Gulf Stream? What about a sudden 4 degree warming caused by massive rapid release of methane, not a nice gas at all. Whatever it turns out to be it can happen at any time and when it does it will probably be too late to stop runaway global heating.

Should we not be getting real, accept what our most eminent scientists are saying and start preparing for survival in a much hotter world. Copenhagen seems to be business as usual, well intentioned tinkering around the margins, the appearance of action masking inertia. A dangerous distraction indeed, as the world waits. I fear that we don’t have long to wait.