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As I write this there was just an announcement of a G8 climate deal: G8 reach climate-change breakthrough. I’ll wait to read some further analysis on the deal before judging, but I’d guess this has to be seen as some kind of step forward. Getting agreement with the US was the major stumbling block.
I did get worried when Bush went into this still saying “we have to get India and China on board for any real solution.” Yes, that’s true, but holding out until then is horrible negotiation in this situation. Leading by example is a big part of how the US used to influence worldwide politics and Bush’s attempts to not budge until forcing everyone else to his demands have clearly failed. Now all of the G8 can negotiate with the other big polluters and say “look, we’ve made our commitment, now it’s your turn.”
However, climate change still continues, and is even going faster than scientists had estimated: Global warming and the melting of Greenland. Greenland is melting faster than previously predicted.
Interesting quote from the interview:
“Q: How do you view the media coverage of climate change?
A: One disappointment I would raise is if you look at the understanding of climate change by scientists — let’s be generous — 95 percent of scientists say we understand the process and we are convinced there is global warming. The media reports it, like a lot of other stories, as 50-50. They want to always show the other side. That’s good, but I’m disappointed that the media does not reflect that there is a 95-5 percent discussion. It sounds like it’s 50-50. The public reads this and they can’t make up their mind usually.”
I believe that’s part of the problem with public understanding in North America, but it’s also the fault of politicians. They still don’t know if their constituents will accept some sacrifices to confront this inevitable problem, so they don’t push for it. I think the vast majority of the population is ready and the first politician to step up and credibly explain to them what’s at stake will win the “political capital” to make changes.