The British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead died more than 60 years ago, but he could have been talking about the Durban climate conference when he said, “Necessity is the mother of invention is a silly proverb.Necessity is the mother of futile dodges is much nearer the truth.”
Reactions to the Durban outcome have ranged from “landmark achievement” to “utter failure to save the climate,” and in some respects both sentiments are true precisely because of the ‘dodging’ necessary to reach any international agreement in our polarized world.
The good news is that Durban set the stage for negotiating legally-binding commitments that will eventually cover all countries. The bad news is that these commitments may turn out to be about 10 years too late, with commitments too low to keep global warming reigned in.
Does a glass half-empty/half-full metaphor come to mind? As one colleague observed, “It is not a half full or half empty glass, it is the commitment to have a glass, and its shape, integrity, durability and whether it gets filled at all is what we now have to work on…” In the meantime, we remain on a pathway to a frightening 4° world, when scientists tell us we should be shooting for 1.5-2° max.
Much has been written about what happened in Durban, so there’s no need for me to repeat it here. The more important question now is what happens next.
Read more: Huffington Post >>
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