Three pieces of news over the weekend
- The World Glacier Monitoring Service announces that most glaciers will vanish by 2050 ‘Many Glaciers’
- David Cameron and the Conservative party launch their new vision for a ‘Low Carbon Economy’
- Delhi, India bans the plastic bag as reported in The Guardian 17 January 2009
All significant in their own way.
Firstly, the Guardian reports that Figures released by the WGMS for 2005-06 showed the biggest loss of ice in a single year since those records began, and based on historic reconstructions, it was thought to be the worst year for 5,000 years.
The latest data for 2006-07 shows that 22 of the 27 reference glaciers for which data has been supplied lost mass, as did 55 of a longer list of 74 glaciers. The total losses were half that of the previous year, but still the third largest on record. In Europe it is thought glaciers have lost one quarter of their mass in the last eight years alone, said Haeberli.
Professor Haerbli the director of the WGMS said “If you have a realistic, mid-warming scenario, then there’s no hope for the small glaciers - in the Pyrenees, in Africa, in the Andes or Rocky mountains. The large glaciers in Alaska and the Himalayas will take longer, but even those very large glaciers will change completely; they will be much, much smaller, and many of them will disintegrate, forming lakes in many cases. - “This means many will simply be lost in the next decades - 10, 20, 30, 40 years.
This is sobering news and re-empasises the massive task ahead of us!
The second piece of news is that The Conservative Party have released their vision for a low carbon economy. It is well crafted document that proposes some very interesting strategies although at present it is devoid of specific targets other than saying that their strategy WILL meet the 80% reduction set by the present government. But despite this, the party deserves real congratulations, making it quite clear that this issue cannot be ignored just because the economy is failing.
Of course this does beg the question ‘What the hell is Labour playing at, not least with their decision over heathrow’. It does strike me that since the departure of David Milliband from the scene ( departed to foreign huts in India) that the department has lost its bite.
The final piece of news is from India; Delhi is banning the plastic bag for reasons of pollution. For me this is the most significant of all of the latest news I have read. Perhaps the 5 year potential jail sentence is a bit steep but the sentiment is absolutely correct. If we wait for change of culture, then we could be waiting at least 2 generations. Governments need to take the bull by the horn, take the hard decisions that they all talk about and drive change through legislation.
So my question is - do we really need to wit for the legislators or is it possible to influence and change in a single generation?
20 January 2009