Sustainability Research, Reviews and Signposting
We come to this forum with many questions, and an open mind. It is with this open mind that we raise an issue and pose a question about a legitimate focus of effort in the environmental movement.
Whatever the possible consequence of AGW and ACC due to GHG/carbon emissions, however important, demanding, costly and urgent they seem in 2012, they are not yet based on conclusive evidence and therefore remain no more than speculation in the eyes of far too many.
Surely we must focus some of our energies and resources on issues of environmental degradation and sustainability based on concrete proof of anthropogenic involvement and impact? Surely we can get on with fixing the problems we KNOW we’ve caused, and preventing the disasters that we KNOW about with an extremely high level of confidence, accuracy and evidence?
The Rio +20 Conference has highlighted this very point in their efforts to define a new, high-level forum to coordinate the international efforts in sustainable development. One of several key goals of this new forum is to focus on making decision-making more evidence-based. An excellent idea. Evidence is finally being mooted as being preferable to, say, conjecture, personal bias, blind belief, rhetoric, platitude or, god forbid, corporate benefit or ‘short-term electoral deadlines‘ as Mark Halles of IISD so aptly summarises.
One further question remains as to the positive impact of increasing awareness about climate change, etc. Raising awareness about the environment and our unsustainable impacts is never a bad thing no matter if you are an industrialist or business mogul. Raping the earth now for benefits solely available in the present is manifest irresponsibility of the worst kind, amounting to selfishness in different clothes.
Would it not be worthwhile to ‘de-carbonise’ the arguments for sustainability in the mainstream and eliminate the question of belief, consensus, fact and infinitely complex climate computer modelling from the table until those questions are resolved?
Continue dedicating our specialist resources to carbon and climate research, but eliminate the public arguments from the mainstream public consciousness in order to avoid alienating potential supporters for all those less contentious but equally important, demanding, and urgent.