Presented by the Sustainable Living Foundation, the National Centre for Climate Restoration BreakThrough 2014 October forum had a surprising thread of hope and optimism.
So often climate change events have an overriding pessimism and a sense of acting against forces beyond our control (political, economic as well as the environment).
Perhaps they took the view that optimism is that path taken once pessimism is exhausted.
He made several major points:
The second speaker was Paul Gilding, former executive director of Greenpeace International who injected the note of optimism. He took the view that ultimately the complex economic system will adapt to the environment through markets and regulation. He did note that the changes would be disruptive and compared it to a war effort (as did David Spratt) and gave the example of the unexpected success of the world-wide adoption of solar power as well as the collapsing coal market. He took the view that even reducing emissions to zero (as advocated by Beyond Zero Emissions) was not impossible.
The final speaker was Mark Wakeham, CEO of Environment Victoria who continued the optimism whilst advocating a strategic approach. He talked about the power of energy efficiency and reduced power consumption to create climate change mitigation and the power of individual and community advocacy.
All in all a night of optimism. But much needs to be done.
Certainly, the climate change sceptics language, phrases and even their countenance are often quite extraordinary.
But perhaps they have gone too far.
While these incidents are extraordinary, it does not address the real question at hand. It distracts from it.
So here is my question (I call it the child’s question).
How’s the weather lately? Is it the same? Is it getting better?
Even the anecdotal evidence is there. Every time there is a severe weather event, people affected by it describe it as the worst ever. Ignore the statistical evidence, but anecdotally people notice!
But statistically, why are weather records are tumbling like the Climate Olympics?
It might be just me but I don’t hear any facts from the sceptics. Which leads me to my real point. In the climate change debate, these sceptics in fact fail the basic rules of debate. Good debaters criticise the opposition and then present facts to support their case.
These people don’t. Perhaps they should. Perhaps then we can have a real debate.