Monbiot and Climate Politics II

Our letter is published in today’s Guardian newspaper. You can read it here and below:

The Guardian, Letters, 23 September 2010.

Dear Sir

George Monbiot is right to highlight politics as the main blocker to action on climate change (Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead, 21 September). It’s only a shame it’s taken him and many others so long to recognise what the evidence has been saying for some time.

Climate change is a long-term problem that requires short-term responses. Polls suggest that about two-thirds of people accept the role of humans in changing the climate, but tend not to prioritise it when at the checkout or ballot box. Thus while political and corporate rhetoric has increased in recent years, there have been few costly investments in new technology.

Pushing for a grand, global agreement was a bold endeavour, but Monbiot is correct to observe that, at least for now, it is also a fruitless one, as politicians rightly feel the political space for high ambition is not yet available to them. That’s why on our blog we’ve been championing the concept of learning by doing things. It may not satisfy the carbon accountants and scenario geeks as much as top-down targets, but at least it’s concrete progress.

Andrew Pendleton senior research fellowMatthew Lockwood associate director, Institute for Public Policy Research


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