Not content with just complaining about it Mr Wolf went so far as to offer a number of solutions with a view to buying time so that humanity can get its act together and so avoid catastrophe.
So far so good.
The solutions proposed were, in a nutshell:
- Tax carbon emissions
- Go nuclear
- Impose really tough emissions standards on cars
- Create secure global trading regime in lower-carbon fuels
- Develop ways to finance technology transfer
- Invest in research
- Invest in adaptation
- Think through geo-engineering.
You can be for or against any of these proposals, each of which has its merits.
Cars makers are already doing a lot to reduce emissions from their vehicles, for example. Geo-engineering seems a bit risky to me. Well-managed nuclear energy goes a long way to decarbonising the economy. Etcetera.
Many, or in fact all of the solutions, involve government action, not just regionally but globally. This is no doubt the greatest obstacle to any meaningful action being possible.
Our governments do not appear to be capable of formulating effective policies liable to affect GHG emissions, let alone habitat loss, mass extinction and other threats to the Earth System, Gaia or however you wish to call or planetary home.
The feeble way in which they are managing the depression/recession illustrates how incapable they seem to be.
The mantra of our leaders sounds like 'markets and the economy cannot be managed or controlled, we are helpless and will just have to wait for growth or whatever to come along'.
Woe betide us if climate change is viewed in the same way.
You can do only so much on a personal level (live an a low energy home, use public transport or stay put, grow your own food, recycle everything, only acquire things which have been recycled, support local businesses and produce etc).
What does it take for a governments to do something similar on a national, regional, global level?
The stark fact remains that it may already be far too late to avoid cataclysmic climate change induced by human activity. The only solution will be the sort of adaptation proposed by James Lovelock in order to preserve what can be preserved.
Things, such as Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, are moving faster than we can imagine.