Copenhagen’s hotting up…
You can always tell when things are coming to a crunch when the game gets dirty. If you are reading this blog, then you are probably aware that the University of East Anglia’s IT system has been illegally hacked and e-mails between the UEA’s Climate Research Unit and other climatologists leaked onto the web. This has thrown the climate change sceptics into a frenzy of outrage/delight and boosted the conspiracy theories about international socialism creating the climate change hoax to enslave the people… but if you look at the e-mails objectively, in context and with a sense of perspective, it’s a load of fuss over nothing.
The timing is of course important as it brings the sceptics and deniers back into the media just when they want to be there. The same thing happened with the first Earth Summit in 1992 and around the Kyoto Protocol discussions a few years later. These attempts to muddy the waters are deliberate to protect vested interests and are to be expected, but their influence has been waning as big business shifts away from the denial camp and starts to engage proactively with the issues. A shift to morally and legally dubious tactics such as hacking could be seen as a sign of desperation.
On the other hand, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the ‘global binding deal’ approach is the wrong one. It is very unlikely that such a deal could please people in Idaho and Indonesia, or Birmingham and Brunei. It also feeds the fears of those the deniers are trying to influence – people don’t like being told what to do by some remote entity. There must be a model of flexible interlocking national programmes where each country can set, and vary, its own targets and programmes, with mechanisms to cover trade between them. Then we could have, in the words of Elvis, a little less conversation, a little more action.