[Coral-List] Copenhagen flop revisited

Hans economicstrategies at bigpond.com
Sat Oct 24 17:33:10 EDT 2009

The Pew Research survey that Steve Mussman refers to is indeed worrying, and unfortunately it is not the only evidence that support for action on climate change has been lost among the public. Other surveys have shown a similar trend. I suspect you have to live in the Florida Keys or similar to be more sensitive to the risks, though even there I am told deniers exist.

One positive thing is that many scientists have given up the reticence that Jim Hansen accused them of only two years ago. The declaration at the scientific climate congress in Copenhagen in March (in preparation for the main December meeting) made no qualifications whatsoever like "scientists are 95% sure etc." I recommend the six-point statement to all coral listers, on the front page of the following newsletter:  


The writing team was chaired by Professor Katherine Richardson (University of Copenhagen) and included luminaries like Professors Will Steffen (Australian National University - read his new report at http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/climate-change-faster-change-and-more-serious-risks-final.pdf), Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (who heads the prestigious Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), and economist Lord Nicholas Stern who wrote the 2006 Stern climate change report for the UK government and admits to turning more even more concerned since then (London School of Economics). 

There are other indications that scientists are going public in no uncertain manner, including a launch in Melbourne, Australia, in July making no bones about the need to secure a safe climate, now. http://www.safeclimateaustralia.org/. Al Gore did the launch.

While the mobilization of scientists is encouraging, I suspect that there are lots of leads and lags when it comes to influence the public perceptions. But let us at least hope that the scientists' calls for urgent action will help reverse the trend, and that COP-15 in Copenhagen will be the start of that reversal, despite some current pessimism. There is much more than coral reefs at risk, even though these are a major concern to all of us.


Hans Hoegh-Guldberg
Oberon, Australia

Hans & Isobel Hoegh-Guldberg
Economic Strategies Pty Ltd
Applied ecological and cultural economics
'Bilagal', 55 Whiteley Road, Oberon NSW 2787 Australia
Tel: 02 6336 0239 (61 2 6336 0239). Mobile: 0419 220 377.
Web: http://economicstrategies.wordpress.com

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