Year 4, Month 9, Day 26: Well, THAT’S A Surprise.

This comment from a UN honcho, via the AP via the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (IN):

LONDON — International leaders are failing in their fight against global warming, one of the United Nations’ top climate officials said Tuesday, appealing directly to the world’s voters to pressure their politicians into taking tougher action against the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Halldor Thorgeirsson told journalists gathered at London’s Imperial College that world leaders weren’t working hard enough to prevent potentially catastrophic climate change.

“We are failing as an international community,” he said. “We are not on track.”

Thorgeirsson, a senior director with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was speaking with two years left to go before the world powers gather in Paris for another round of negotiations over the future of the world’s climate, which scientists warn will warm dramatically unless action is taken to cut down on the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

One of the main points of contention is how to divide the burden of emissions cuts between industrialized nations and emerging economies such as India and China, the world’s top carbon polluter. The lack of progress in recent years has fueled doubts over whether a binding deal is possible at all.

Thorgeirsson seemed to strike a pessimistic note Tuesday, talking down the idea that Paris — or any other conference — would produce a grand bargain that would ensure the reductions needed to prevent a dangerous warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. He even seemed to suggest that a global solution to the issue wasn’t likely until the effects of climate change came barreling down on peoples’ heads or flooding into their homes.

“I don’t think that an international treaty will ever be the primary driver for the difficult decisions to be made,” he warned. “It’s the problem itself that will be the primary driver — and the consequences of that problem.”

Sorry about that, kids. September 18:

The inability of the world’s people to respond adequately to the threat of climate change is undeniable. This collective apathy in the face of a planetary threat now threatens not only our civilization, but our very survival as a species. Why have we, and our leaders, failed to act? There are many factors in this potentially deadly equation.

Climate change’s consequences unfold over decades, which may be instantaneous from a geological perspective, but are far longer than politics’ two, four, and six year electoral cycles. Our representatives in the halls of Congress are unwilling to address long-term issues except in the vaguest possible terms. Furthermore, many are profoundly ignorant of scientific method, and mistrust any experts whose conclusions or analyses are ideologically inconvenient.

This political shortsightedness is exacerbated by corporate interests which fear for the safety of their profit margins. These multinational malefactors of great wealth have invested heavily in misinformation campaigns, obscuring the unambiguous science of climatology with mediagenic spurious false equivalency.

It is a “perfect storm” of ignorance and narrow self-interest. As they struggle to survive in a climatically-transformed world, our descendants will have justifiable contempt for the “deniers” and “delayers” in our government and media.

Warren Senders

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