Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

“the biggest crisis facing the world”

with 2 comments

The first two stories I read in this morning’s Obeserver leave me depressed.

Gordon Brown is in Jeddah trying to persuade OPEC to open the taps a bit more. And that is his quote I used for the headline. He thinks the oil price is the problem and that therefore more oil coming on to the market to meet rising demand will solve it. That is, lower the price.

The second story is that “the majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans – and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem.”

So at least Gordon Brown is in step with his constituents. Although most of the analysis is what that means for his political future. Not,  what does this mean if the world does not have leadership that is prepared to tackle global warming. Brown was trying – unlike Bush and Harper.

There is a deal of debate about why the Brits are not convinced but the phrase “many people said they did not want to restrict their lifestyles” sums it up neatly for me. And that feeling is not confined to the British either. And the thing they like to do is point to Al Gore and ask how big his carbon footprint is, and though that somehow excuses them from actually dealing with the future that faces us all and in a much shorter time frame than was expected.

It is not as if any of this experience is actually new or different. Throughout my life there have been “end of the world as we know it” scares. The bomb, the hole in the ozone layer, DDT, the series of oil shocks, the rise of terrorism and so on.  Most of the world is poorer and sicker than us – and we have actually been cutting back on the aid we give them. The population explosion was always a problem but the religious convictions of a few US marginal seats mean we do not deal with that or AIDS/HIV in any way that might actually work. The tv screen fills with little naked black babies who are going to die on a regular basis – and floods and disasters seem to occur with monotonous regularity in all the poorest nations. Nothing is being done to help Haiti or the Sudan – or nothing effective anyway. It is no wonder that people in the rich countries turn their attention away after a while from huge problems that seem so intractable. And listen to pundits paid for by big business who will tell them comforting lies. And sell them a big screen tv to watch “reality”.

The biggest crisis facing the world is our own indifference to our fate – and the wickedness of a political leadership that will allow that to happen. The good thing about the credit crunch and the oil crisis is that both were long overdue and a correction to over consumption and wastefulness that had to occur if we are to have a planet we can continue to occupy. And I used to reflect on what I heard the elders say about how this will affect our grandchildren. But most of the people alive today will see the impact of changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, worsening shortages of basic necessities – food, fresh water, secure shelter – and sudden catastrophic events such as the floods currently devasting the American mid west. Becuase it is not only Bangladesh and all those islands in the Pacific that are at risk. We all are.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 22, 2008 at 8:30 am

2 Responses

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  1. Simple problems and there simple answeres but nothing will change as long as corporations run goverments.

    As you well know I tend to harp on Campbell, the reason,he is a corporate goon.
    People will change with technology gets here but if goverments don`t supply it there is not much people can do!
    I am sick and tired of this guilt trip about carbon when Campbell and his cronies promote pollution.

    16 % of BCs greenhouse gas comes from gas flaring,Alcan spews tonnes of carbon using electricity to smelt (no carbon tax) the cement industry uses mainly electricity and some natural gas ,so they pay no carbon tax–The cement industry is the fastest growing greenhouse polluter in the province.

    If you want to here something really interesting listen to cknw audio vault for friday june 20th 9am hour–with –Keith Baldrey–Vaughn Palmer–and Bill Good—-I called in and got on about 9.46 am

    Earlier in the hour all three of them were laughing at Carole James and the NDP because the NDP want to target the big polluters at the source, all three of them were chuckling and scoffing saying –“how foolish to target the biggest polluters because they will just pass it on to the consumer” All three of them were shameful!

    Well when I started talking, vaughn palmer cut me off and started yelling and telling lies,he stated that the big polluters do pay the carbon tax when they buy fossil fuels,but those big polluters use electricity to start their polluting process, well when vaughn finally shut up —I let all three of them have both barrels ,I said how sad that your defending big polluters,no matter what we charge them ,no matter what we do these polluters are getting a free pass from you three, well then theres no point in carbon trading or caps is there then. after I got hung up on,vaughn went on to say that if we go down the road of charging big polluters we are going to hurt our competitive edge.

    The whole hour and the performance of those three liberal shills was disgusting!

    I later emailed Vaughn and bill good with data from ALCAN –THE CEMENT INDUSTRY–and the OIL and GAS INDUSTRY—I provided imperical data proving my point,I have not heard back from either.

    I told Vaughn that I am going go at him next week on friday(The cutting ledge 9am to 10 am)—-I also asked for an apology from Vaughn for being a rude radio bully,and for confusing the unimformed public!

    grant g

    June 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm

  2. Grant, I have corresponded with Palmer for years, he is very polite, always answers my emails, yet nothing I have sent him has filtered down to his articles.

    I was a regular on the Rafe Mair show when he was AM 600 and even his minuscule research staff (1) person found much damning information about RAV/Canada Line, yet not one peep on the Brand-X, nada. Maybe $250 thousand in RAV advertising has something to do about it.

    The two dailies have become shills for the status quo and is one reason I have turned to the blogs!

    A note: I regularly post on the Seattle PI and have never, I repeat never been censored. Yet, on both dailies not one posts to their blogs have been printed!

    Malcolm J.

    June 24, 2008 at 8:06 am


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