If you take a look at media stories and scientific blogs from the UK on the subject of climate change, you cannot help but notice how much further down the road the Brits can see than Americans.
Here in this country, for example, righties are a-tizzy over a column by Robert Samuelson calling current attempts to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases "grandstanding." If you read the world-weary column and take a look at the comments section about it on the afore-linked Prometheus site, you’ll hear Andrew Dressler, who has written a textbook for students in atmospheric chemistry, complain:
It’s like I’ve been beamed back in time 20 years. These arguments ("it’ll destroy the economy", "production will move offshore") are exactly the same arguments made to oppose CFC phase-out. And they turned out to be completely wrong.
Over on conservative-but-not-kneejerk Professor Bainbridge’s site, the professor sounds a little worried about global warming, but resigned to it, much like Samuelson. But even that doomy stance is advanced compared to many comments on his post, where the uninformed still dispute the reality of global warming, and fling insults at people at those of us who want to act to reduce the risk.
Contrast these hackneyed debates with a story from George Monbiot in "The Guardian," in which he points out that already thousands of homes in Germany are built to a "passivhaus" standard that requires no active heating system. Yet these homes are substantially warmer than most English homes, even new ones. He’s complaining that new homes in England are behind the times because they require active heating and cooling–can you imagine?
Or take a look at a recent post from author and explorer Mark Lynas:
The UK government recently disbursed £2 million to various organizations to help them raise the profile of climate change. Very laudable, you’ll agree. But they’ve also spent £1 billion in the last year alone on their programme of building new roads across Britain. Do the maths. Considering these two figures, the UK government spends 500 times more on *causing* climate change than it does in *preventing* it.
Could the concept that the government by its actions is actually causing climate change even be discussed in this country? Judging from my recent debating experience, I have doubts…