Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Words vs. Deeds on Climate and Security

This is just a brief update on the Australian fires (see below).

In the The Canberra Times, Nicholas Stuart writes that "Words give false comfort" on climate change. Just over a year ago, Kevin Rudd was elected as Prime Minister, with a strong platform and mandate to deal with climate change. He quickly signed the Kyoto Protocol in Bali, but then has done little more than photo-ops and commissions regarding climate change since, according to Mr. Stuart.

While this is probably true, the larger lesson is that politicians can no longer say "Climate Change is a security threat" but then only focus on international negotiations. There are very few elections that have ever been decided based on what goes on at a UN forum, no matter how important it is. Instead, politicians are going to have to start to address climate change at the local level. This doesn't mean turning off your tv or turning down your music, like the EU thinks. Instead, it means acting to deal with, and adapt to the effects, whether its fires in Australia, storms on the US Gulf Coast, or changing food production patterns. Politicans and governments will be challenged based on how they predict -- and react -- to climate events.

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