Thursday, December 6, 2012

Professor: prepare economy for war on climate change

_MG_2421s_DanielPauly_byGraceOngVisiting Professor Dr Daniel Pauly from the University of British Colombia in Canada has told ABC radio AM current affairs program that governments should be putting their economies on a 'war footing' to fight climate change.

Dr Pauly, a world renown marine biologist and fisheries scientist, has been researching the impact of climate change on fisheries. He is currently visiting Australia on a lecture tour.

Related: Great post by David Spratt at Climate Code Red - Scientists call for war on climate change, but who on earth is listening?

He spoke to reporter Michael Vincent from ABC radio AM Program, broadcast on December 4,
"I think we are still dealing with this in terms of cost, in terms of 'We cannot afford this given the budget'. We are not dealing with it in terms of the danger that this represents - it's like a war. When there is a war, the industry is put on a war footing, and then within weeks it stops using - producing cars - it was so in the States - and it starts producing aeroplanes. World War II is a good example.

Really the question of cost doesn't come up. You had a bunch of crazies that were threatening all of Western civilisation. Actually, I think that global warming does threaten all of Western civilisation and but we are dealing with pennies, we are dealing with pennies.

And so Doha, like Copenhagen, I think there will be meetings that will still be seen in terms of money, financing, whereas they have to be seen in terms of security. And it's - for the first time it's not security of this or that country, it's the security of humanity.

Former Greenpeace CEO and sustainability activist Paul Gilding and Jorgen Randers, Professor of Climate Strategy at the Norwegian School of Management in Oslo, suggested in a 2009 paper that countries later this decade may initiate a crisis plan to manage global and national economies to drastically reduce emissions when it was clear "that the climate challenge is a real threat, requiring immediate and strong policy action at the super-national level."

The One Degree War Plan (abstract) was published in 2010 in the first issue of the Journal of Global Responsibility. Read a brief synopsis at Post Carbon Pathways: One Degree War Plan.

While public concern is growing on the impacts of climate change, particularly after the Hurricane Sandy devastation of the US east coast and the release of the World Bank report by the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research that Global Warming heading towards 6 degrees C, I think that public perception still has a long way to go to accept moving global and national economies to a war footing with the restrictions that would entail.

I think it will take crossing a major climate tipping point producing some fundamental change in the earth climate system or more extensive extreme weather disasters to jolt the public call for a 'war on climate change'. But some countries like Germany are already showing the way with their Energy transition (German: Energiewende) program.