Smart, Realistic Action on Climate Will Bring Long Term Prosperity


By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 16 (IPS) – The high-level scientific climate conference that concluded last week in Copenhagen warned that humanity is rapidly approaching an irreversible, 1,000-year-long climate catastrophe.

The good news is that this dark future has an escape hatch: make major and immediate reductions in carbon emissions.

However, climate change activists worry that instead, trillions of dollars, endless hours of media coverage and all of policy-makers’ attention are being devoted to the economic crisis. That’s a bit like trying to get a clearer channel on the radio as your car is about to slam full speed into a bridge abutment, they say.

And while the current economic crisis affects tens of millions of people, the economic system has long been nothing but a “global Ponzi scheme,” as Paul Reitan, a geologist and climate expert at the University of Buffalo, commented recently.

This system, rooted in the concept of never-ending growth, was always guaranteed to collapse because humanity is living off Earth’s limited capital – natural resources and services provided by healthy ecosystems.

“Let’s be practical, we live on ‘Lifeboat Earth'” and need to base our values, norms and institutions on this reality, asserts Reitan. Continue reading