Monday, October 15, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly - comparing and contrasting concerns about climate change

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That great advocate of the meeting needs not greeds, and the ethics of future generations, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary (!!) flew into Bristol International Airport by private jet to front the announcement of new routes last week. In the process he told people campaigning against the expansion of Bristol Airport to 'get a life'. He went on to say, of campaigners against more flying, 'They badger us and bang on about how the end of the world is nigh because of global warming - but its not....' . Well, thanks for those highly responsible personal actions and warm words of informed and concerned social responsibility Mr O'leary. He is of course a person with no vested interest in airport expansion and the current very rapid increase in flying, much to the detriment of our climate. I'm genuinely sure Mr O'Leary's business degree and experience of amassing huge amounts of money qualify him very well for assessing climate change dismissively as no real problem. I wonder why the UN went to the trouble of assembling the world's foremost expertise on climate (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, this yr joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize) when they could instead, probably for a fee though, have gone to Ryanair's boss??

Contrast the views of Ryanair's Michael O'Leary, a man who has 'proudly declared that Ryanair intended to increase its emissions of carbon dioxide' with those of former US Vice President and joint winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his work on raising climate change awareness and concern, Al Gore, and with those of UK primary age children, who according to a recent report are said to be 'deeply anxious' about issues such as climate change, and you get my message.

Al Gore and the IPCC were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".

The report describing children's anxieties says children themselves expressed a sense of "deep pessimism about the future", the study showed, with worries about climate change, the gap between rich and poor, and terrorism topping the list.
They were also anxious about issues closer to home such as traffic, graffiti, violence and gang culture. Some also said they were worried about 'what you hear on the news'.

The work of Al Gore and the IPCC in spreading the truth is good. The evidence says that unless we act decisively and soon the future looks bad (and our children, who obviously have a big interest in the future !, sense this). The views, behaviour and attitude of Ryanair's Michael O'Leary are rather ugly.