31 December 2008

How Far Future

I was noodling around the 'net the other day for info on arcane bits of Provincial legislation. You see, some local property developers want to park (yet again!) an industrial "development" in our beautiful, rural neighbourhood. The current proposal -- in stark contrast to the last one -- is pretty softcore. The trouble is that, to get the zoning permissions, they're following an obscure process that eliminates the need for Environmental Impact Assessments, public-participation processes and the like. Or maybe not. It all depends on whether you can convince the Bureaucrat Of The Moment to buy your interpretation of the legislation and regulations.

Long story short, all this led me to a link to the Provincial Government's Draft1 Climate Change Policy Document. Wow! Who ever would suspect that such a thing exists?

It will take me a good long while to read throught this thing, so all I've done is skim it so far.

Apart from some fairly obvious (to me) missing pieces, the whole thing seems pretty impressive to me. (And this is me -- the anarchist, using a word like "impressive", about government! Will wonders not cease?) In summary, the Western Cape is going to get dryer, mainly in the extreme South-Western areas (i.e. Cape Town, my home town) but not so much where we are (the Southern Cape.) That's assuming the IPCC models have some resemblance to future reality2. The Western Cape is hugely dependent on agriculture as an economic driver, so there's much discussion of that. None of this is the impressive bit...

To me what is important in the document is that
  1. the Western Cape Provincial Government is actually taking Climate Change seriously, and not in denial like some other governments we might mention,
  2. they're actually advocating mitigation strategies, depsite the fact that, as a "developing" nation, South Africa is not "technically" obliged to worry about mitigation4, and
  3. they're talking about actual, concrete actions, not just a lot of waffle, like the National government's discussion documents. (In fact, the National Government's list of "Key Issues" does not even mention climate change at all!)
My point: We can talk about climate change all we want, but unless we take actual, specific, concrete actions, we might as well be wanking.

[1] In the (long) time it took me to write this, the policy document has been gazetted, and is therefore no longer merely a "Draft"...

[2] Extremely dubious! I think that consensus amongst climate scientist3 is that the IPCC model is disastrously wrong. Climate change is happening far quicker than anybody expected or predicted, and it is accelerating faster than any "accepted" models. Of course, academic process being what it is, the climate will simply have gone and changed -- maybe radically -- before academic bodies accept the models that explain the change.

[3] Any climate scientist who reads this and wishes to correct my views, please do!

[4] What bollocks! Every human being is going to be "impacted" by climate change. Anybody who think that mitigation is not part of their personal responsibility should be put up against the wall is clearly deluded.

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