Thursday, September 10, 2015

Too little, too late, alas

by Gary Berg-Cross

More and more, on so many fronts it seems that the adage of "too little too late" applies to the contemporary scene.  The refuges crisis pouring out of Syria, parts of the Near to Middle
East and North Africa comes to mind driven there by the latest, ghastly TV images of a multitude of suffering .   The Greek debt crisis lingers as another situation that organizations were unable to deal with early on.   Over time it slid from bad to worse and it is possible that the scale beyond worse still looms.  And of course we have the difficult problem
of climate change.  Sure there is a growing international community consensus for action as we near the  Conference of Parties in Paris in December. A small step towards some leadership on the climate has been provided by the US and China. But it all seems like too little to stop temperature rise, acidification of the seas, glacial melt, droughts and the like. It has always been hard to fix things, but it is getting to seems that we need to fix things in every direction. As European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard put it. we need more action:

“for Paris to deliver what is needed to stay below a 2°C increase in global temperature, all countries, including the United States, must do even more than what this reduction trajectory indicates”..

And it is hard to do more in the face of determined opposition. California, usually a trendsetter for climate change actions, illustrated that recently. Recently under focused
pressure from the oil industry, CA state leaders folded and lessened an important piece of climate change legislation. They dropped a provision that would have required a 50% cut in petroleum use in cars and trucks by 2030.  We get too little and it will be too late.

What we are likely to get down the road are apologies. . Polite apologies such as “mistakes were made in the Iraq invasion/occupation. But of course, these don’t fix the problems that were made, as we know from things like the refugee crisis.  Awareness and apologies are better late than never.  They are fine and good as moments, but they can be tragic when they come too late and miss windows of opportunity.

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