Friday, 18 December 2009
Britain's 'snow event' - and Copenhagen
Well, it's finally happened - again. Much of the UK has suffered extreme disruption after being blanketed with heavy snowfall; cynics might ask why the annual event always seems to cause so much disruption to local transport networks and why it always appears to take local authorities by surprise despite the regular nature of the deluge, but that might be a little unfair. In the age of increasing scrutiny of local government spending the stockpiling of large amounts of grit and equipment that would remain idle for most of the year might meet with public disapproval - or at least more than one local council claimed during the last snow-related fiasco in February. Whatever your take on the yearly affair - and the vast amounts of media coverage it generates - there is no question that adverse weather is of great interest to large swathes of the population.
Which is all rather appropriate given that world leaders are currently attempting to hammer out a deal on climate change at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, the Danish capital which itself has also suffered from heavy snow over the past few days. Central to discussions has been the matter of carbon emissions and how best to tackle them.
Sadly, it's not looking too good; confusion has been the buzzword of the Summit, with delegates being denied entry and accusations that larger nations - read the United States and China, among others - are unwilling to accede to the demands many in the scientific community believe are necessary to avert an artificial climate catastrophe. Even US president Obama's rallying cry that "while the science of climate change is not in doubt, I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now" has failed to placate those who doubt the developed world's commitment to carbon reduction.
But summits have a knack of springing surprises, of producing when all seems lost, and it may be that Copenhagen will yet deliver. We'll find out in the next couple of days whether this particular meeting of all the world's nations - not one immune to the effects of climate change - has been a success. Let us all, whether shivering in the winter snow or baking in the summer sun, hope it is.