I was watching the giant fires in California and Australia over the past week and marveling at the speed and destruction the flames can accomplish. The most irksome thing in common with both sets of fires is the ability of TV commentators to acknowledge that the scale of devastation caused by these conflagrations is undoubtedly due to global warming and then rile against the ‘leadership’ that doesn’t seem to be doing enough/anything about the problem.
The question that pops into my mind for these commentators is why they blame the ‘leadership’ of their countries. Surely if the voters in these two democracies keep electing the same idiots to lead, it is unreasonable to expect that their leaders will suddenly change their stripes and make the changes needed to address global warming.
There is no lack of scientific evidence supporting the idea that global warming is an impending catastrophe driven by human activity. The biggest impediment to changing anything is the economic shift required to accomplish the task. Addressing climate change will result in economic disruption and not addressing climate change will result in climatic disasters. Either way there are going to be serious dislocations in human resources and a lot of pain felt by a lot of people.
The recent election in Kanadoodle produced results not unlike you find anywhere in the world these days. Those that advocated a radical ‘green’ change received a small increase in their votes, still representing a tiny fraction of the electorate. Those advocating continuation of carbon oriented policies were neck and neck with those who advocated a tepid ‘bit at a time’ approach. The carbon promoters came from provinces where oil and gas are economic drivers. Their lack of success at the polls has given rise to ‘separatist’ sentiments and alienation focussed on the other provinces.
It is not surprising that the electorate seems stuck on a tepid approach, little different from the status quo. It’s nice to think you’re personally in favor of action, even if you don’t really want it to affect you personally. It’s much easier to blame the people you vote for, even if you haven’t given them a mandate to change much of anything. It’s perhaps not unlike the shift humanity made from horse power to gasoline power. Horse breeders, manufactures of horse drawn carriages, coaches, wagons, buggy whips, wagons, horse breeders and a legion of others were big losers as the shift occurred.
Of course new industries arose, retooled and eventually absorbed the dislocated work force. It will happen again moving from gas to green – it’s just that politicians are prone to think in terms of election cycles and there are a heck of a lot of voters who will be displaced as green is introduced. Regretfully it’s going to be a little harder to phase into green than it was to phase into carbon. The short time frame driven by climate change is not going to make for a smooth transition.
So, before we slam politicians and their unwillingness to take immediate and positive action, let’s not forget who put them there in the first place and continue to vote for them election after election.