Page 33 - Respond 2014 | RTCC Publications
P. 33

rtcc respond

US President Barack Obama directed the EPA to take a tougher line against coal-fred power plants in 2013.

at the Conservative Party’s annual conference that we became necessary to defne a safe level so that fights could recommence.
should just accept the climate has been changing for
centuries, and any further increases in temperature were And so it is with the two degree dangerous limit – it was only ever intended to allow
likely to be quite modest and have a number of benefcial for the continuance of business as usual in the face of the certain knowledge that
impacts. industrial activity was driving atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to
levels higher than anything in the history of human existence.
Two degrees
But why now? Why at the very point that the IPCC have The search for energy substitutes was meant to have delivered a solution by now. It
removed any doubt about the anthropogenic nature of hasn’t, and time is up; two degrees of warming cannot be avoided under business as
climate change would Western decision makers choose usual scenarios.
to abandon all pretence that they were ever serious
about climate mitigation? The game of charades is now over. It is decision time – capitalism vs observance of
the two degree warming limit or, in the very optimistic words of Buckminster Fuller,
I would argue it is because the ultimate symbolism of ‘utopia or oblivion’.
climate policy now demands a response; the two degree
dangerous limit idea. The last month of policy announcements show our political class have made their
The promise that climate change won’t become
dangerous anytime soon can no longer be deployed to
forestall the need for radical action to reduce emissions. Christopher Shaw is an inter-disciplinary researcher at the University of Oxford with
That, after all, is what environmental limits are for; not to eight years of experience in research in the area of climate policy, social geography,
limit industrial activity, but enable it. public engagement and socio-technical transitions. Follow him @kalahar1

Following Fukushima, safe levels for radiation exposure
were increased so that children could go back to schools
that, under the previous safety levels, were declared out
of bounds.

Aeroplanes were grounded across Europe in 2010
because there was no such thing as a safe level of
volcanic ash for planes to fy through. It therefore 31
   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38