What do I think, What can I do?

Posts tagged ‘public opinion’

Climate Activism

Time goes fast. Three weeks ago I was in the most intense #FridayforClimate, at least in my personal experience. I was with my older son and I finished with mixed feelings happy to see more people than expected, hopeful for the strength transmitted by young people and for the worldwide impact but worried by the lack of focus, at least in the demonstration I was. I wrote about it.

I am not able to make a reasonable prediction about this movement started by Greta Thunberg. Sometimes I see this personalization as a weakness sometimes as a strength, we all need models, and we all follow more easily people than ideas. The problem is when this model people is not able to meet the expectations. For the moment, Greta continues to get coverage and leads. For me the planet wide scope is key but the young people leadership is quite interesting too. They are going to live more time with the consequences of climate change, they have more personal reasons to be worried. Like in the judicial case of  “Juliana v US,” the lawsuit filed by youth plaintiffs against the United States claiming that climate change violates their rights. I do not think courts will solve this problem but those cases will generate political and social activism.

To get a successful climate change mitigation (the technical name to reduce the emissions and climate change) we need this activism because changing our energy production, transportation and industry will not be easy and will produce losers. This kind of sacrifices are intrinsically difficult for politicians, they can produce strong backfire like yellow vests movement in France. And activism helps for that, it helps a lot.

#EarthHour in 2019 (March 30th)

Another form of activism, not so young, was last Saturday’s #EarthHour, it is quite old, in fact, from 2004. 6 years ago I mentioned itand last Saturday I went to the local meeting with my family. We were not many this time, and I did not check if the power consumption effect was noticeable, but it still is another wolrdwide action, with many institutions involved and with a clear message in favour of energy use reduction, or, in other words, efficiency. I like this message, we need of concretion, and even more we need a world wide claim of concrete and urgent actions like a carbon tax, or stopping coal use, or reaching some reasonable co2 emissions per capita in a defined time. Undoubtedly, those campaigns can help, even more if they converge and maintain pressure until next cop meetings or elections.


Green New deal and School strikes

From Pixabay (jplenio)

In the last times these two movements are attracting much attention in climate change.

Green New Deal is a strong political movement in USA. A couple of good explanations here: in New York Times and from Australia in Skeptical Science. USA and China are the two main economies David Appel likes it but he would prefer to separate climate change politics from other social politics. After reading it I partially agree but I prefer to connect with the next interesting movement.

On the other hand Greta Thunberg -the young girl that addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference and in January 2019, having just turned 16,  and was invited to talk to the World Economic Forum at Davos- has started and inspired a school strike against climate change. It has become a really strong young people movement worldwide and it deserves a post itself.

Both are important because have made mainstream climate change, both have helped feel the urgency of climate action that scientists are long ago explaining, both are reaching worldwide scope. At the same time they are different, Green New Deal is very political and School strikes are mostly social. Green New Deal comes from American politics and School strikes come from the cold northern Europe.

So I am very happy to hear in the news that climate change is a big problem and we have to act as humankind. This was really necessary both at political and social level. What I miss is concreteness in the message. It would be nice to focus on asking to close coal power stations, install yearly a good amount of renewables, support for governments speaking about end of fuel vehicles,… And it would be really great to ask a worldwide carbon tax that is one politics that would move many others. Concreteness is imperative as we need fast action.

Pope and Climate Change

Last days the most commented climate change news are the words coming from catholic church’s leader Pope Francis in a encyclica called Laudato Si.  It is everywhere,

  • in climate change webs it is celebrates and extensively commented: climate progress, carbon brief, skeptical science, quark soup…
  • In skeptic webs it is criticized: whatupwhiththat, or this one.
  • In general newspapers it is mentioned profusely. For example, New York Times has 22 news in their climate change channel last week (12-19th June), 17 are about Pope’s encyclica, including an editorial. relationship with poverty, american politics reactions, or critics to current global market. Many others like BBC, El Pais (in Spanish),… It is well described in this post.
  • In Google a simple “Laudato Si” search gives 2.000.000 answers.

So,is this document a turning point in climate change? I agree with Carbon Brief‘s post that explains it is very positive and influential but just that. There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world but the two great actors (USA and China) are not Catholic and most influential catholic states are among the “convinced” in climate change (Italy, Brazil, Spain). Even more,  if this document is clear and with a lot of media attention, the opinion of catholic church with respect to climate change was not different with previous Popes. Nevertheless, in my opinion the three most positive points of the encyclica are:

  1. The moment is crucial. We need commitment and clear ideas in the governments and public opinion to start a way now that will avoid greater problems in 50 years. This document helps in this sense, to gain commitment. This year COP in Paris is a great opportunity to start a serious change.
  2. Many people in several western countries listens contradictory words about climate change, or they do not get a sense of urgency. The Pope will be a new word for them, as it is a highly respected opinion for many people and can help them inform more or get conscious about climate change. Every people’s opinion counts in this issue, at least to some extent.
  3. Finally Pope Francis connects the fact of the poorest with climate change. Climate change is becoming a great problem for them in many ways and this is the way it will become an humanitarian problem to the eyes of many people.

Climate Change Snapshots from my Canary Island Holydays (I)

This summer I was lucky to enjoy some vacation days in the very nice Canary Islands, concretely in Tenerife and La Palma. It was just holidays but Climate Change appeared, subtly, as many other times in certain occasions I want to share with you.

The image is from the Loro Parque a “must” for any child visiting Tenerife. This site is a mixture of zoo- animal care and life shows, one even with orcas, that started as a Parrot conservation centre. My son loves it and the environmental message is widespread in the whole installations, although there has been some discussion in the media related with their last orca acquisition: Morgan. In contrast to the general environmental care advises climate change is not too present in the shows or readings. The only mention I found is in the snapshot below, in the penguins zone. It was good to find it but, in may opinion, it is not enough as climate change is one of the main risks of many species shown in the Loro Parque. And this kind of places are a great opportunity as they are visited by many people and several families and children not usually involved in climate change news circuit.

Snapshot from a explaining wall in the Loro Parque, the only one I found mentioning climate change

Snapshot from a explaining wall in the Loro Parque, the only one I found mentioning climate change

Spanish elections and Climate Change

It is always interesting to listen what it is sadi in electoral campaings. Ok, I recognize it will not always be fulfilled later, or even worse, some parties make several statements thinking they never will have opportunity to make them true but this way they can improve their position, or make opponent ones unconfortable. Nevertheless, elections still continue to be a privileged moment to check the best intention of any party, and their believefs about public opinion.

And regarding climate change those Spanish elections show tw interesting data in my opinion:

1.-Climate change has not been a main topic in this Campaing, it is not strange considering the serious economic crisis. However the climate crisis may be more profound and much more risky in the long term. Renewables and energy have not been the main topic either but they have been present due to the economic consequences and recent Spanish energy history.

2.- The most interesting thing is that climate change have been overwhelmedly accepted as real and important. Even the winner, the right-wing PP party saids clearly so in spite of its good relationship with american Republican party . Europe and USA are different in this aspect, althoug in practice this can be a small difference in some cases.

Anyway, there is a more detailed analysis here. Of course it is not objective, because it is an interesting review about renewables. But mine it is not either and maybe objectiveness is just an ilusion best reached from adding different subjectivenesses.

London trip

Tower Bridge in London

Tower Bridge in London

2010 in one figure

I wanted to make a kind of summary of this year, the first year for this blog. It started as a trial, and I still are not sure about my energy to write periodically about climate change. But some post have been produced and some more are in drafts, so fpor the moment I do not give up.

The most direct way to make a kind of summary in this moment was to obtain new data for my climagechangemeter and show them. October was a very encouraging month with steep increments for total appearances and decrements for sceptics. But today this result is going exactly the other way: Scepticism is regaining strength and climate change loosing presence. Anyway those results are weaker than the previous gains so, global output from june is clearly positive. Is this a real index about global opinion? I am not able to say it but considering the moderate success of Cancun and some interesting results as the failure of prop 21 in California we may be getting in the right way.  The more difficult question is, are we driving at sufficient speed?

One day in Rome

In my comeback from the long blog-summer vacations I wish to mention my last week trip to Rome. I went for a business meeting and it was a two days journey in witch only the first one was in Rome itself. It was my first time in this ancient and full-of-history city and I really enjoyed walking along the remaining of the old empire, the lively squares and the renacentist buildings. Apart from the tourist enjoyment, two questions striked my, related to climate change:

The first one was the repeated advertising about a share holding operation on Enel company, the main Italian energy company. I do not know the real meaning of the advertisement or the company but everything was very green in the ads and main picture was about a field of photovoltaic panels. Ecology and renewables are considered closely linked and if they are regarded helpful to get good image. In my opinion this is essentially a positive progress in spite of its several drawbacks (“many not very greens pretend to be very green”, interesting subject for another post). So I got quite happy for that.

In the other hand,the second issue was negative, a repeating negative one. My Italian colleagues explained my that most Romans were firm car users, they distrust public transport for not being reliable or punctual. This makes the city more chaotic and of course produces several extra CO2 tons per year. Moreover, those attitude problems are difficult to solve and require time and patience, it is very easy to enter a endless loop: I do not use public transport because it is not good, public transport is not improved because is too expensive in part because it is not used, and so on. But who should break those dynamics? Governments with convinced politics, like in the case of public debt reduction? Or convinced citizens who intend to change the mind of their policy makers?

Like the old times in which all the ways leaded to Rome, I think any way is good but we have to be fast because we may have less time than we think.