Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Global Warming goes to the Security Council

The Guardian today explains the point of Britain's decision to refer climate change to the U.N. Security Council:
The entire point of the exercise [is] to reframe the way people think about this problem. There's good, pragmatic reasoning behind that. The glum reality is that governments tend to take security threats more seriously than any other kind. Just think of what Washington has spent on the "war on terror". If George Bush gets his latest budget through Congress, he will have spent $750bn of American taxpayers' money on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a little over five years. Environmentalists drool when they imagine what they could have done with a fraction of that money. Even a quarter of the total, say a meagre $200bn, could have paid for enormous strides towards a low carbon economy. It could, for instance, have paid to transform the way we generate electricity, by capturing carbon and storing it in the ground, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere.
It's a sad but true statement that this country will only get serious about something as big as climate change when we decide to couch it in terms of war. This in fact explains all the "War on X" rhetoric that pops repeatedly in American political discourse (and always in capital letters): The War on Poverty, The War on Drugs, The War on Terror, etc. You'll know this country's finally getting serious about universal health care when some president declares "War on Uninsurance," or some such....

1 comment:

zachawry said...

Yeah, but given the lack of success the US has seen on the Wars on Poverty, Drugs, and Terror, you'd think the last thing you wanted to see was a War on Anthropomorphic Climate Change...