The climate, it is a-changin’

Time by pepey. *See below for attribution.

Time by pepey. *See below for attribution.

The Doha Climate Change Conference is underway this week and next, and scientists and concerned citizens the world over are holding their breath waiting to see whether there will be any substantive decisions made this time around.

But we’ve been pretty bad at implementing changes so far: in fact, the gap between what we should have been doing and what we’ve done has increased rather than decreased. So even if there are useful agreements reached, it’s politically unlikely that we’ll be able to take sufficient action to stave off catastrophic climate change down the track.

So what to do? If I had the definitive answer to that, one that would be acceptable to all governments and people, I’d be a very rich woman indeed (and a very happy one). Alas, that’s not the case. in this situation, faced with such a huge global problem and a populace that either doesn’t care, doesn’t believe, or doesn’t want to think about it, and a political class who don’t want to rock the boat by taking a position, it would be easy to give up and just find some high ground to live on.

But there are things we can do. There’s probably no point in trying to convince those who call themselves skeptics: they have probably made up their minds long since, and any kind of reasoned discussion will simply frustrate. However, if you want to give this a go, Skeptical Science has a list of rebuttals to the top 10 climate change myths.

Similarly, those who understand that climate change is a reality don’t need convincing, and will probably only be made more anxious as this becomes more obvious, while not really taking personal action until they’re faced with the serious consequences. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the actions of a few individuals won’t make enough difference.

So we’re left with trying to change government policy: this has to be done in a way that is acceptable to both the government and the public, since if it doesn’t benefit the government in some way, they won’t enact a policy, and if it doesn’t benefit the public, there’ll be widespread dissatisfaction. Thus, researchers are stuck with the task of coming up with solutions that are both palatable and effective.

*The amazing graphic used in this post was created by Ferdi Rizkiyanto and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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