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Oops, they did it again

…or rather, the world’s leaders failed to do what everyone was hoping they would do at the Doha Climate Change Conference between 26 November and 8 December 2012, i.e. produce a global agreement on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – again.

True, they did extend the Kyoto agreement until 2020. However, the Kyoto agreement is already insufficient to keep the global average temperature from increasing more than two degrees. Also, it has only been signed by around 40 countries and affects only around 15 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to Johan Rockström, professor of natural resource management at Stockholm University in this Dagens Nyheter article. Also, having extended the Kyoto agreement may make people complacent and not put the pressure on enough to reduce emissions further, Rockström adds.

However, the fact that the global community has failed to produce anything more substantial than an extension of the Kyoto agreement, in spite of all the concern that is being expressed by researchers and ordinary people, surely does indicate one thing: the impact of environmental change is not yet bad enough for people to see sense. In the last few decades, practical, concrete advice of all sorts have been put forth, suggestions have been made on everything from population control to sustainable lifestyles. And yet, little if anything of this is being heeded. Very likely, we won’t listen until crisis stares us squarely in the face. Clearly, we are not there yet. But when we get there, it may be too late.


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