Friday, November 23, 2012

Why We're Warming

Colombians contributing to global warming today.
We're a long way from dealing with global warming, and that point got driven home for me this week thanks to two events in Bogotá: The international summit about climate change, which got little attention, except for a few obligatory newspaper articles; And Bogotá's annual auto show (did they schedule it this week on purpose to ridicule the anti-climate change efforts?). The auto show got huge, drooling coverage on the radio, in newspapers and, I have no doubt, on television.

Sure, a few 'eco-cars' were displayed. But I've never seen one of these on the street. The real charismatic attractions were those pricey, sexy and sporty gas guzzlers.

Bogotá's annual auto show probably put thousands
of new cars onto the streets.
Efforts to control climate change are probably doomed, and not only because residents of rich nations are determined to continue their resource-gobbling, pollution-emitting ways. The efforts are doubly doomed because residents of developing nations like Colombia are determined to imitate those wealthy nation residents - despite the inevitable harm to their own health and the planet. And the burning of coal is soaring, and coal exporter Colombia is a big part of that.

Colombia is said to be one of the world's most vlunerable countries to climate change. But as long as it's doing its best to dig up oil and coal and sell them to rich countries to burn, Colombia can hardly complain.

The French Embassy helped sponsor the Climate Change Summit. Perhaps they should talk to Air France, which is hawking weekend shopping trips to Barcelona and Paris. (And to me the Zona Rosa seems far away and pricey.)

This piece by The World emphasizes what a disastrous track the world's climate is on unless we make huge changes soon. But it also shows how difficult those changes are. The woman interviewed at the end, who has just suffered thru Hurricane Sandy, won't consider changing her lifestyle, because "We live for today."

The radio piece makes a parallel between society's responses to the evils of slavery and climate change. But slavery survived for centuries, or rather millenia, despite its obvious and immediate evils.

Very few people, even those of us who believe fervently in global warming, are willing to change our lifestyles today to prevent hurricanes, coastal flooding and immense crop failures and famines 50 or 100 years from now. We'd rather leave the cost to our children and grandchildren.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


JuanitoAlimanya said...

I follow your blog... intermittently. Mostly when it pops up on a google search about any combination of bikes,pollution & Bogotá. I may not always agree,but I never regret having read it.

Anyhow, right now I'm volunteering with the "Bogota's People's Climate March" against Climate Change to take place Sept. 21 2014 .

Honestly, we need all the help/publicity we can get, so you are very invited to get involved and/or join us. Plenty of biking "colectivos" are helping us out so it might even be an interesting subject to write about.

Cheers and keep up the good work,


Miguel said...

Hi Juanito,

Thanks a lot for your comment and work against climate change. It's interesting, and a bit sad, that your comment comes just after Colombia announced that it will use fracking, and as the country sinks deeper into car culture.

I'll hope to write up the march against climate change.



Miguel said...

Incidentally, I and a group of La Candelaria residents have been fighting a David-vs-Goliath battle against two huge parking structures which the Universidad Externado is building on Bogotá's Eastern Hills.

Even tho Petro has said many times that reducing global warming, saving green space and reducing car use are among his central values, we've gotten only resistance from city officials.

Needless to say, this project would increase climate change in at least two ways: thru deforestation and by promoting private car use. And, sadly, it's symptomatic of Petro's supposedly green administration.