Al Gore in a nearby park

In a public park up the road from here, a public screening of An Inconvenient Truth is ongoing. It’s a bit amusing that this should occur tonight, which is far and away the coldest night I have experienced since arriving in Ottawa. Leaving the office at about 6:40pm tonight, it was the first time I have gone through that double set of doors to find the air outside cooler than the air inside our twenty-eight story tower.

You have to wonder what the wider significance of growing public awareness about the climate change issue is. If it will require massive sacrifice to deal with, there is a reasonable change that Monbiot’s assertion is correct:

We wish our governments to pretend to act. We get the moral satisfaction of saying what we know to be right, without the discomfort of doing it. My fear is that the political parties in most rich nations have already recognized this. They know that we want tough targets, but that we also want those targets to be missed. They know that we will grumble about their failure to curb climate change, but that we will not take to the streets. They know that nobody ever rioted for austerity.

Thankfully, it does seem likely that the early stages of mitigation will be relatively painless and will carry corresponding benefits in terms of reduced dependence on foreign oil and reduced air pollution. It is when things really start to bite that the resolution of voters and law-makers will really be tested.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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