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December , 2008


Christmases past and present forebode the future.
Can we dream like Ebenezer and hope to put things right?

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  When Dubya was inveigled to his powerful position about eight years ago we had a perverse optimism. We thought he could not be as bad as he was painted and that he would surprise us all with his hidden personality, charisma and wisdom. How wrong we were, instead he led the world down a steep slope starting an unjustified war that many of us did not want and in the process alienated a massive bulk of people around the globe who are out for indiscriminate revenge. Possibly worse than that he has denied the evidence for global warming and fostered those who are 'raping' the planet for personal gain at the expense of future generations. He is driven by dogma and a belief in the 'magic' of technology, a subject on which he appears to be comprehensively ignorant. Even in his last throes, his power is so great that he can do a lot of harm in just the few weeks remaining, and he is flailing. His record certainly conjures up a frightening dream of the future.
    The good news is that we are about to see a change which promises a much better outlook. GW is to be replaced by a man who has shown good sense and motivations so far. Obama is already preempting the felonies of his predecessor and that is a good sign. We are not ones to count our chickens but if the new leader comes up to expectations the prospects should be much better and we speak, not as Americans (obviously) but as members of a planetary community. This definitely gives us hope.
    On this side of the Atlantic, Christmases past have seen us following closely the lead of the US and under Tony Blair we were misled, partly by a pack of lies. Unfortunately this man took it upon himself to return to the bad days of nuclear power (at least he could pronounce it). With all that nuclear has going for it, it will continue to leave a deadly legacy for our descendants, and our inability to cope with the pernicious effluent is an open secret. Well, TB has moved on and the reins have been taken up by a man (whose name is certainly not Green) who has shown skill in handling the national purse and has a heart for the impoverished. He might even be at the helm in leading the world out of the unprecedented financial mess we are in; but that's by no means certain. Nevertheless he does not impress us with his breadth of understanding which is needed to tackle global warming. The dream is there unfortunately.
    Nevertheless there are some hopes because Gordon and Tony have allowed (even encouraged) some green activity in the UK. The aggregate of of these activities is unfortunately pathetically small but we cling to these efforts for all they're worth. Behind the scenes, in the UK there are those who comprehend the enormity of the outcome of climate change and the pernicious nature of nuclear power. In Britain there is a culture (albeit repressed) of innovation and engineering and manufacturing skills (the same can be said of the USA of course). If only these sectors of society can make themselves heard and be empowered there is the potential for a better, safer future. This is our hope.
    For those with doubts about man's contribution to climate change this is the time when those doubts should be extinguished. There is now stronger formal scientific evidence than ever before which we would be foolish to deny. There is irrefutable evidence that sea levels are rising and at an increasing rate. We have modified the properties of the waters of our world so that many countries will be partly deluged and together with effects such as the melting of the permafrost a vicious spiral has been created from which we cannot now escape. In the popular, entertainment domain, the scientifically based programme series on Channel 4, "Catastrophes" illustrates the possibilities in frightening detail. We can see in our dream a future where an aged Boris is playing his fiddle as the mayor of Londinium-on-sea.
    What hope for the future then on this fundamental score? The answer lies in widespread, international recognition, acceptance and action and there are plenty of indications that these are imminent. Kyoto was the birthing of this movement and although it did not achieve what was expected it has certainly helped to bring about international awareness. Building on the Kyoto process, currently we have global representatives meeting in Poznan (Poland) and that should set the framework for a shoot-out in Copenhagen (Denmark) next year. Despite the died-in-the-wool, self-centred behaviour that will undoubtedly be forthcoming there is a much greater acceptance that something needs to be done and indeed we are confident that some things will be done. Our hope is that enough will be done over time to contain the runaway condition we find ourselves in. In view of the many things that we have mentioned above and in fond memory of Charles Dickens we continue to have a perverse optimism.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013