The Climate Change Endgame by Thomas E Lovejoy:
WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world's problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.
The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant.
This week, in Bonn, out of sight and out of mind, international negotiators will design the biodiversity and ecosystem equivalent to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A full eight years have passed since President Jacques Chirac of France acted as host at a meeting in Paris to create this "Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services."
Progress has been painfully slow. Only now is the "platform" and its work program - to assess status, trends and possible solutions - being designed. In the meantime, rates of extinction and endangerment of species have soared. Ecosystem destruction is massive and accelerating. Institutional responsiveness seems lethargic to a reptilian degree.
Environmental change is happening rapidly and exponentially. We are out of time. Only three generations back - in the same decade as the original scientific publication of the greenhouse effect - my great-grandfather chaired the commission that designed the New York subway system. How was he to anticipate the sea-level rise that contributed in part to the impact of Hurricane Sandy?
How will things look just two or three generations ahead? Can we avoid the greatest intergenerational environmental injustice of all time?