25 July, 2007
The UK’s flooding crisis and the hundreds of heat wave deaths in Central Europe raise the question (again) about the influence of man-made global warming on this freak weather. As governments focus increasingly on adaptation policies (see the European Commission’s recent Green Paper), we should not lose sight of the reason why we will have to adapt: because our current way of life is just not sustainable.
The Guardian’s columnist Jackie Ashley has an excellent analysis of our predicament. Her conclusion:
“Here is the brutal truth: however good our flood defences, transport planning, emergency relief and so forth, it is all inadequate if we don’t face up to the primary question: not “Why hasn’t the government been better prepared?” but “Isn’t our failure to respond to climate change by changing our economy and lifestyles simply idiotic?”.
“Above all, what we need is a new politics, ready and opportunistic enough to join the dots. We shouldn’t have heard mainly about extra money for local authorities, or debates about new housing, relevant though they are. We should have heard Brown, Miliband and the rest coming straight out and saying plainly that this is a further example of what lies ahead for us, time and again, if we don’t change our ways. They should have grabbed the opportunity to get us thinking afresh about the changes we need to make.”
But then again, telling voters that the party is over is not a message that will make politicians win the next general elections.Author : Willy De Backer