It's got worse since 2008, too
But, as the BBC has reported, “‘Today's IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity,’ said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. ‘If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today's report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success’”. So what do campaigners make of that?
Who to believe, Greta ...
Greta Thunberg mostly agrees. “The new IPCC report contains no real surprises. It confirms what we already know from thousands previous studies and reports - that we are in an emergency. It’s a solid (but cautious) summary of the current best available science … It doesn't tell us what to do. It is up to us to be brave and take decisions based on the scientific evidence provided in these reports. We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today, and not without treating the crisis like a crisis”.
... or The Great Guido?
Of those who have browsed the report, Peter Stefanovic, he of the video that has had 30 million views but of which the BBC dare not speak its name, has concluded “The report warns that even in the best case scenarios, some changes are already locked in to our systems, including sea level rise. This will never be reversed, not even under the lowest emissions scenario. We can still avoid the worst consequences but only if we act NOW”.
Sadly, though, it is not just about following the science, as Carole Cadwalladr has warned: “Today's report is utterly damning & utterly unequivocal. It's also not enough. The political forces seeking to undermine solutions are dark, powerful & organised. Tech platforms that spread disinfo are out of control. Science, alone, is not enough”.
Just how powerful and organised the denial brigade is right now can be seen by the response from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, from whom many in our free and fearless press will take their cue. There, the line is “UN Has Been Predicting Planetary Disaster For 50 Years … UN’s Fifty Years Of Eco-Doom Warnings … Don’t believe the doomsters. Don’t bet against humanity’s ingenuity”.
Yes, don’t worry, carry on as before, drive everywhere (Staines excepted), sling lots of red meat down yer throat, go on lots of long haul holidays (more on this later from Julia Hartley Dooda), burn lots of solid fuel, keep the thermostat turned up, sneer at wind and wave power, and above all make sure you tell the Rotten Greenies™ that it’s all about FREEM!
Capitalism, we will be told, should be left to itself and by doing so, disaster will be averted. The problem, as The Affluent Society pointed out back in the 1950s, is that capitalism, left to itself, does some things very well, but others badly. And what it does badly is to give a damn about the environment. Someone else has to clear up the mess.
Well, now it’s not just the mess. It’s the planet. All of it. And there isn’t another one we can just go and inhabit. The denialists - organised and powerful - will sing their siren song once more and demonise the Gretas of this world. And more denial will end very badly indeed.
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