Looking back over 2008 in terms of climate change, there hasn’t been enough news to give us hope but to take a brief (very brief) look back at some of the green news that comes to mind, here are a few reminders:
#Britain’s erratic weather once again confused our wildlife and continues to do so. As the climate becomes more and more unpredictable, many species are struggling to cope and their odd behaviour clearly demonstrates the evidential impact that climate change is having on them which will inevitably reach the human species.
#As unthinkable as it seems, scientists warned us that there may be no ice at the North Pole this Summer. They told us that the ice-caps are melting much faster than was first thought and that there may be no ice left there, disputably for the first time ever, and as the ice continues to melt it continues to have a dramatic impact on many species out there who are having to change their feeding and migration patterns. The rising sea levels are also having an impact on whole communities . . . and not just native communities either. Runaway warming in the Arctic will have a devastating effect on each and every one of us.
#The Plane Stupid activists brought some controversy into their campaign when their actions resulted in a runway being closed for a day and flights canceled giving travelers a taste of what life is going to be like as we continue along the destructive path of convenience and carbon emissions.
#Camp for Climate Action went to Kingsnorth this year to protest against E.ON’s proposed coal-fired power station:
The new power station planned for Kingsnorth will output more CO2 each year than the whole of Ghana
Of all the fossil-fuels, coal is the biggest polluter and it beggars belief that our government is insisting on waking this dinosaur. Burning coal is a major threat to the planet so it’s not surprising that Kingsnorth has been a major focus for environmental campaigners. The more coal we burn, the more it negates any environmental progress we have made.
#Of course, I can’t have a green run-down without mentioning the election of Barack Obama and the departure of one of the worst presidents in US history. His gung-ho vandalism on the environment has put the world in a much worse state than it should be in and his refusal to acknowledge climate change sooner has resulted in precious loss of time and action. George Bush hasn’t gone yet but we know that, along with his corporate buddies, he is going to leave a green legacy that, if there were any justice in the world at all, he would be strung up for. Here’s hoping that Obama’s environment team can outweigh some of the damage.
#The 2008 Climate Summit took place in Poznan and a new EU emissions agreement was reached which George Monbiot aptly named carbon colonialism. As the summit ended, the missed opportunities were clear and the divide between the rich and poor countries was stark. Shameful.
#And finally, one thing that’s been a damn sight more predictable than the weather this year is the amount of sceptics with their usual tiresome doses of denial and emotional exploitation. Once again I am inclined to quote George Monbiot:
Those who claim to identify a conflict between environmentalism and humanitarianism have either failed to read the science or have refused to understand it.