This weeks leads editorial in the international business magazine 'The Economist' shrugs its shoulders and walks away from the idea of controlling Climate Change. This is very significant for The Economist is not a climate change denial publication, for some time (at least as far back as 2006) it has accepted the scientific consensus that human caused Climate Change is a real process with extremely serious implications. So it giving up the fight is a very big deal indeed, and one that contains serious lessons for the Climate Change reformists who continue to believe that if enough pressure is put on a deal can somehow be struck at five minutes to midnight.
Last weekend I went to Birmingham, England for the national conference of the British anarkismo affiliate Liberty & Solidarity. I started to write this blog on then train back from a National Shell to Sea meeting in Galway this Sunday. During the week I updated three of my blogs about my North American speaking tour. This is the week when Ireland is cut off from the world as the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano drifts overhead, grounding all flights. Which got me thinking about transport and climate change.
This weeks New Scientist carries an editorial calling for "robust public debate on geoengineering". Geoengineering is the idea that if climate change cannot be avoided through a reduction in carbon emissions its worst effects can be avoided through large-scale engineering of our environment. The failure of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen has seen many scientists look to what is perceived as the only possible alternative.
If you want to escape from the misery of the Irish winter the warmest, cheapest and most direct destination is the Canary islands far to the south off the coast of Africa. It is a tourism entirely build around cheap flights bringing affordable holidays in the sun to millions of European workers. But has it any future on a planet threatened by Climate Change? When I visited Lanzarote in January 2010 I was escaping one of the coldest winters that Ireland had seen in decades, a coldness perhaps created in part by the very mechanism I was using to escape from it.
I've just listened to a rather good introduction to some of the major issues of Climate Change from someone I normally have little time for, George Monbiot. In this audio though he scores some points in terms of the dangerous distraction of peak oil panic and the economics of climate change. He also lays out why fossil fuels have been so incredibly useful in the development of civilisation to date and why the COP strategy is no strategy at all when you look at the underlying science.
This audio interview conducted by mobile phone on Monday evening covers the protests at the COP15 summit in Copenhagen. Ronan who was a member of WSM in Ireland has been living in Denmark for a year and a half and is involved in a new Libertarian Socialist group and the local infoshop in the autonomous Youth House.
Our interviewee gets nicked on Saturday along with 960+ others
We'd a national Shell to Sea meeting in Dublin this Saturday at the end of which we had a talk from Heather Milton Lightening of the Indigenous Environmental Network about the struggle against Tar Sand extraction in Alberta, Canada. This is a filthy process that involves vast open cast mines, tailing ponds that can be seen from space and the use of huge quantities of water and energy making it a major cause of climate change. Back in 2006 I mentioned the dangers it posed in the conclusion of the article 'The politics and reality of the peak oil scare' I wrote with Chekov Feeney.
Environmental issues have become increasingly important over the decades. When Murray Bookchin wrote his first works on our ecological problems in the 1950s, he was only one of a small band. Today, even right-wing politicians have to give at least some lip-service to environmental concerns while corporations are keen to present their green credentials to the general public (even if they do not, in fact, have any).
Peak Oil Theory has been around since the 1970s. Some think we have already reached 'peak oil', others think it will happen with the next twenty-five years. The theory argues that when we reach 'peak oil' the rate at which we extract oil from the earth (measured in millions of barrels per day) will reach a maximum and thereafter will start to drop.