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A capitalist dilemma

By Gavin, 26th January 2007

Hello from San Francisco,

meanwhile, in The Guardian…

“The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. … Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document …”

“The impact will be catastrophic, forcing hundreds of millions of people to flee their devastated homelands, particularly in tropical, low-lying areas, while creating waves of immigrants whose movements will strain the economies of even the most affluent countries.”

We need to address our fear of this future and dire prospects and move into action in a way that we’ve never had to before.

There can be no argument that addressing both the human causes and environmental solutions is imperative. This includes building programmes to address inevitable outcomes as much as it means investment in existing and new technologies.

However, we also need to address what we can all do today, with no technology, no legislation and no “other” to aid our individual impact.

The joke might run “how many citizens of the world does it take to change a llight bulb” – because if they did it’d take 250 million tonnes of CO2 out of the equation. If you’re not switching off your stuff, using less water, driving less, and making those personal commitments (that cost you less), then you know what’s going to happen, and it’s your fault.

Governments and industry are acting, slowly, and are faced with a (growth-)capitalist dilemma – how to make more money by encouraging less consumption. Of course there are £trillions to be made from the right long-term solution, but we need to incentivise them into action – through our personal actions – to make tough decisions to create new economies.

Our next steps will require us to take significant actions that are not based on short-term £profit.

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