Sky News – Climate change and Obama’s trip to the Arctic

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I think giving people a picture of what’s happening now on the planet is really important, and remember what Obama is talking about is what’s happening in Alaska, but it’s also happening in the glaciers in the Himalayas, in the Alps here in Europe, in Antarctica in Greenland, and all over the Andes, so giving you some idea of the scale of the change that’s going on right now.

We have a real problem with water rising, of course it’s not rising the same amount at the same time everywhere, so in some places it is rising higher than others, but on average around the world by the end of this century it will have gone up by about three feet, which will put lots of property in Cities like Miami under real pressure.

There’s definitely a contradiction, but we shouldn’t expect the American president to be any more consistent than our own politicians. And in the scale of hypocrisy it’s nothing like as great as the prime minister saying that he wants to be the greenest government ever and then taking a wrecking ball to all of his green policies. So there are contradictions undoubtedly, and he has upset a lot of environmentalists and he has to some extent undermined his authority and his credibility on the issue, but you must remember that he is doing a lot more even than the cuts in emissions, he is also promoting the alternative energy source that we need, the low carbon sources, so on the over all scale of hypocrisy it’s not the biggest earthquake that we’ve ever seen.

[It is absolutely right that America has more do do than most in term of emissions reduction] but it’s really important to focus on the upside of what Obama’s doing rather than the downside, because without the kind of leadership that he is giving then our expectations of what would come out of Paris would go back a long way, and remember hat his predecessor in the White House was really dragging America out of doing things, and at least Obama is pushing things forward, but as the figures show there is a still a long way to go to catch up to Europe.

 

 

 

 

About tomburke

Tom Burke is the Chairman of E3G, Third Generation Environmentalism, and an Environmental Policy Adviser (part time) to Rio Tinto plc. He is a Visiting Professor at both Imperial and University Colleges, London. He is a member of the External Review Committee of Shell and the Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board of Unilever and a Trustee of the Black-E Community Arts Project, Liverpool.
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