I have attended 5 seminars lately on the environment and climate issues. What am I insinuating with the title? I am not suggesting a conspiracy. Let us keep our heads calm.
I am certain that there are interest groups within the civil society who are not scrutinised as is needed. The climate question is definitely politicised. It would be foolish to say otherwise.
The first seminar was the SIDA Development Area Symposium, subtitled ”Oceans and climate change”, on October 12th. You had the very knowledgeable climate scientists and great speakers such as Johan Rockström.
The second part of the seminar was more socio-political. It was hosted by the Swedish centre-right think tank Fores. It was a two-part seminar, ”Expectations of the climate talks in Cancún”, on November 9th.
The fourth one, ”Reducing climate risk” was with Richard Klein on November 18th, The Stockholm Association of International Affairs (UF) and The Law Students’ Association (JF), at the University of Stockholm.
The fifth one was with Gustav Fridolin, on November 22th, which I organised. I have no say in his opinions. Fridolin is a member of the Swedish parliament for the Green party. He visited the Stockholm chapter of UNA-Sweden. The theme of the seminar was one that we had chosen, ”Den dubbla utmaningen – klimatkrisen och fattigdomsbekämpningen”, translated to English roughly, ”The double challenge – the climate crisis and poverty alleviation”.
I have gathered most of these seminars are full of climate scientists agreeing on global warming. Climate skeptics are unheard of so the debate is one-sided. I think they are just not invited to participate.
The only political party representatives are from the Green party. It is unsurprising considering their great interest in environmental issues. An interest in nature and to take care of our environment is also a conservative idea. It is not peculiar if you think about it. They are for preservation and sustainability.
Businesses are not invited either while I would have thought it would be a good idea if one is interested in letting them know the importance of corporate responsibility. I believe the export industry would have been interested. Few journalists attend these seminars.
An enclosed group of individuals meet each other at different events and are aware of each others work. They need to convince the public and not argue amongst themselves.
My understanding of a panel debate is not gathering people with more or less the same opinion to talk on how they work towards the same goal. That is more like propaganda.
A panel debate should be made up of different experts that defend their stance. The Fores debate was good in that regard.
I am not a climate skeptic. I am suspicious and critical because the debate is not balanced. It is not controversial to say people like Meena Raman have a clear political agenda against multi-national companies and the western world. You do not need to be an expert on ideology to get that. Sonnegård also have a point that the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and similar organisations, do seem ideologically oriented. His statements on Venezuela and similar countries that try to sabotage the process, is something I was unsure of but Cancún has made us aware that his view on Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba is not outrageous. It is also clear from the seminars that I have attended the civil society is not as critical of these countries as they are of USA.
The debate is turned into something where the guilt ridden western world has to defend itself against angry civil rights personalities representing different organisations. The politics have unfortunately influenced the science debate. The IPCC fiasco, although overblown, is evidence of that.
The energy issue is separate from the climate issue. The climate issue is a matter of sustainability and modernisation. Energy is an immediate concern and developing countries need to increase their consumption. They are connected because of a political agenda to point the finger against large companies. I am not denying that they have economical interests. It is more serious than that when it comes to energy. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is a good example of geo-politics and securing energy needs.
The same goes with linking the issue of climate and poverty. One can help developing countries without involving environmental issues. Get real. Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When your immediate concern for your family is having bread on the table, you hardly consider such fancy luxuries as alternative energy, unless it is cheaper.
The civil soviety is traditionally against businesses because of their political agenda.
It is also difficult to find incentives to promote cleantech in developing countries when businesses are not invited.
It is true that the scientific community agree on the anthropogenic influence on the climate. There is an excellent scientific community discussing these issues which is more than necessary. The emotive and hysterical amateur activities of lobby groups that try to pressure governments are unnecessary and much of their work is counter-productive. They clearly dominate the debate. It would be beneficial to hear more from balanced scientific personalities such as Richard Klein and Lennart Bengtsson.
Humans and the planet have always adapted to great changes. In that respect the talk about adaptation is positive and the result in Cancún is satisfactory. Like Hans von Storch has said, adaptation should be considered parallel to mitigation.