Forget the diatribes, let people speak through action
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Forget the diatribes, let people speak through action


As the convention of global bores kicks off in Copenhagen, I don’t have to take the cat out on the back step, calculate various astronomical positionings, sacrifice it and study its entrails to figure out that no one is going to agree on much at today’s latest global political photo-shoot.

I was going to write a diatribe against various politicians. India’s position is that rich countries are to blame for climate change, “nana na nanna” and they have to pay everything. What’s even more absurd is that opposes the goal of halving world emissions by 2050 despite everything pointing to the fact that if we don’t, nations like India will suffer most.

I could mention the opposition leadership in Australia calling into question the theory of climate change based on leaked emails from the University of East Anglia.

And the US, with its most “environmentally-friendly” president, will only effectively cut to 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, pretty pathetic, reflecting a national narrow-minded viewpoint on international affairs.

All of this is put into stark contrast with most European governments having already agreed at least 20 percent cuts to 1990 levels by 2020 and Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown, recently agreeing to 80 percent cuts in emissions by 2050.

But I decided not to have a rant.

What people globally ought to realize that this is one case where individual action, boosted by local communities, with their own efforts can make a difference. While the US national leadership may be hamstrung by vested interests, the California Energy Commission slipped through a regulation saving $8 billion by 2021, the output of a 615 megawatt gas fired power station or 3.5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

How? It limited the size of flat screen TVs and their power consumption.

While the percentage of Indians owning these sets might be low, that’s not the case in Hong Kong, Japan or Singapore. But people do own sets with remote controls and by switching off at the set rather than the standby button, you can save up to two-thirds of the power the set would have consumed had it been switched on.

A lot of people do use mobile phones in India,China and Indonesia. Making sure that you switch your phone charger off from the mains when not charging saves power.

Simple actions make differences, switching out lights, not accepting another plastic bag, whatever.

It is like any action regarding sustainability, individual action can make a difference, especially encouraging community action – finding out which local fish are disappearing or their numbers declining and find an alternative.

Whatever happens in Copenhagen, it will be the population masses of all nations who will suffer the most from climate change, yet the same people can continue to make a difference without their so-called leaders and they must do so.