Business as usual? / Columns / The Foreigner

Business as usual?. The end of the world did not quite happen as planned. We are doing impressively well as a species in continuing where the Mayans allegedly left off. 2012 was yet again a wild year for disasters, including in rich countries. Floods pummelled Norway and the UK while tornadoes cut swathes across the U.S. midwest. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated from New York City as a hurricane bore down for the second year in a row. Volcanoes disrupted flights in New Zealand.

climatechange, norwayenvironment



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Business as usual?

Published on Tuesday, 1st January, 2013 at 10:10 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

The end of the world did not quite happen as planned. We are doing impressively well as a species in continuing where the Mayans allegedly left off.

Sustainability
Will we do better with sustainable practices in 2013?Sustainability
Photo: Ilan Kelman


2012 was yet again a wild year for disasters, including in rich countries. Floods pummelled Norway and the UK while tornadoes cut swathes across the U.S. midwest.

Hundreds of thousands were evacuated from New York City as a hurricane bore down for the second year in a row. Volcanoes disrupted flights in New Zealand.

Ho hum. Same story as always. Move along, nothing new here to see. Besides, Australia was declared drought-free in May for the first time in a decade.

So why worry?

Because of what happens behind the headlines that captures our attention for a day or two. Because the "business as usual" disaster of continuing human vulnerability and environmental destruction is far more frightening than the disasters we remember.

Abject poverty continues in Delhi's slums and American inner cities. Governments continue to eviscerate social services. Those who can afford to pay tax continue to campaign for lower rates.

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The world continues to avoid an effective climate change treaty. Oil companies, including from Norway, continue to aggressively seek new fossil fuel reserves to extract.

Budget airline profits continue to rise. Executive payouts and bonuses across many sectors continue to be more than most people earn over their entire lifetime.

There is indeed plenty of money around to solve our problems. That money is allocated elsewhere.

None of this portends the end of the world in 2013. It is simply "ho hum, nothing new here" again.

Alternatively, it brings the chance to use the New Year to change our ways.

Dr. Ilan Kelman is a Senior Research Fellowat the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).



Published on Tuesday, 1st January, 2013 at 10:10 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: climatechange, norwayenvironment.





  
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