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Water Chestnuts - Issue 8

Why is it so hard to get governments to react?

At the recent G20 summit participants scarcely mentioned the "other" debt crisis - the environmental crisis - the consequences of which are dire indeed for humanity.

World leaders dropped everything to tackle the financial debt crisis that spilled from collapsing banks but the ecological debt crisis, which threatens much more than pension funds and car manufacturers, is left more or less untouched. It's like worrying over wallpaper whilst ignoring the fact that the walls themselves are collapsing on subsiding foundations.

Scientists already predict that on current trends, in only 92 months - less than eight years - we will move into a new, more perilous phase of warming and it will then no longer be "likely" that we can prevent some aspects of runaway climate change. We will begin to lose the climatic conditions which, as NASA points out, were those under which civilisation developed.

And Governments - how are they reacting? Not good. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UK spent a staggering 20% of its GDP in support of the financial sector. But the amount of money that was new and additional, announced in the "green stimulus" package of the Treasury's Pre-Budget Report, added-up to a vanishingly small 0.0083% of GDP. And it appears that those Governments who spent more on support for finance had weaker green spending.

So we need to ask our politicians "is what you are doing right, and shouldn't you be doing more to rectify the ecological debt crisis and climate change?"

The difference between the banking bailout and the ecological bailout is - should Governments fail to address this issue there is not a long-term business cycle that will come to our rescue. If the climate shifts to a hotter state not conducive to human society, it could be tens of thousands of years, or never, before it shifts back.

To read more about this viewpoint and readers feedback click here.

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