March 09, 2007

Serious politics or comical editorial?

There is an editorial in this week's Nature magazine about very serious politics (No more hot air, European heads of state gathered in Brussels today must show they are serious about climate change).
Most Europeans want their elected leaders to rise to the challenge and take effective action [about climate change]. They understand that this will involve difficult lifestyle choices regarding, for example, the size of the cars they drive and the amount of energy they waste at home.
Will switching to smaller cars and reducing energy "waste" at home be effective action? Hmmm.
Italy, Spain and Portugal, for example, are failing to meet even the modest targets allocated to them as their share of the EU's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, as the new-found fashion for air-conditioning sends their electricity usage through the roof.
Air-conditioning has nothing to do with making life more comfortable in the boiling summers of, say, Seville. It is just a new-found fashion.
The climate crisis [...] provides a timely opportunity for the EU to prove that it is capable of leading the world in an issue of global importance. This will require technological innovation, societal backing, economic adaptability and, above all, political will.
Note the curious interspersal of sensible ideas - technological innovation and economic adaptability - with rhetorical non-ideas - societal backing and political will.
There is no reason — yet — to conclude that the EU isn't equal to the task.
Hmmm.

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