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We Need Less CO2 and Way Fewer Acronyms

We Need Less CO2 and Way Fewer Acronyms


“[The impacts of climate change] go far beyond the environmental. Their consequences reach to the very heart of security agendas.”

Margaret Beckett, former British Foreign Secretary.

The T&E, IMO and other NGOs tell the UN to reduce CO2.

O.k. Clearly the shipping industry produces far too much of two things: Acronyms and CO2. We can do something about the greenhouse gases, but I fear we’re stuck in an ARE (Acronym Rich Environment).

The CO2 and the climate change its driving are going to be addressed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, also known at COP21 (sigh…).

Not to diminish the recent terror attacks in Paris, but in one sense they couldn’t have been better timed, since climate change is intimately linked with terrorism. As Prince Charles recently stated, the drought that helped to kick-start the Syrian civil war can be blamed to a large degree on climate change.

The desperation and extremism that boiled over in Paris have their roots in the very climate crisis the Paris conference is meant to combat.

Speaking about the link between climate change and security with his characteristic gift for reserved understatement, political scientist and historian Gwynne Dyer said recently. “We’re not doomed, we’re just in big trouble.” The man has a way with words.

Climate-change scenarios are already playing a large and increasing role in the military planning process,” he writes in his book Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats. “Professional officers are trained to think in terms of emergent threats and climate change is the biggest threat you’re likely to find.”

Now, I know it’s not as simple as More CO2=More Bang-Bangs, but the fact of the matter is, if you want to combat the root causes of extremism and terror, combating climate change is an awfully good place to start.

France held a national moment of silence today to honor the victims of the attacks two weeks ago. We could all probably use a moment of reflection on climate change as well.

As sure as you’re born, if we don’t want that tragedy to be repeated and repeated and repeated, COP21 will have to do a lot better than COP18, 19 and 20.

In terms of the shipping industry, many in our business are behind the demand by the UN and the IMO that, as one of the biggest polluters in the world, we need to get serious about reducing our climate impact, but many are saying it is demanding too much.

If we want to help stop terror attacks, we need to reduce our climate footprint. If we want to stop having to pull refugees out of the water, we need to understand our role in this crisis. If we want to have a livable world that allows economies to flourish and peace to expand, we need to do our part to deal with the climate crisis.

It’s a big part, but we have to do it.

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