In a week that has witnessed a UN Climate Summit in New York, the largest ever show of climate change demonstrations across 150 countries, and Greta Thunberg sticking it to the world’s leaders, it would be easy to assume that the issue of climate change is finally foremost on the agenda of most governments and global institutions––the US excepted.
Many worthy words have been exchanged; many positive pledges made. So, why do I remain so sceptical that anything constructive will be done?
To use a Second World War analogy, I think a phoney war is currently being enacted by the power-players regarding climate change. While people in Vanuatu remain on the frontline of a genuine daily conflict, decision-makers in Europe and Asia and America are simply fighting a war of numbers; a war to secure climate change credentials, rather than to achieve any meaningful change.
For governments and multinationals, modern wars are contested on the spreadsheet not in the physical environment, and the battle over climate change is no exception.
The current governmental posturing that is being witnessed is merely to achieve the moral high ground of climate change credibility; it is a high ground that the inhabitants of Vanuatu might only dream about, but it is a mere molehill in the genuine, longer-term climate change debate.
It is a sad fact, but constructive change doesn’t happen until there is a direct, negative, economic impact by standing by and doing nothing and, from the vantage point of the decision-makers in Europe and Asia and America, this has yet to happen. This is why 73-year old Trump’s America is conspicuously absent from the debate––not in my lifetime––and why 16-year old Greta Thunberg is so prominent.
Sadly, by the time the phoney war on climate change is over, Vanuatu will be six feet underwater.
© The Mudskipper
The ever-adaptable Mudskipper is as happy on the land as he is in the sea.