As record sea ice melt scarcely makes the news while the third runway grabs headlines, is there a form of reactive denial at work?
Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.
Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.
Instead, in the UK, the headlines concentrated on the call by Tim Yeo, chair of the parliamentary energy and climate change committee, for a third runway at Heathrow. This sparked a lively debate in and beyond the media about where Britain’s new runways and airports should be built. The question of whether they should be built scarcely arose. Just as rare was any connection between the shocking news from the Arctic and this determination to increase our emissions of greenhouse gases.
I wonder whether we could be seeing a form of reactive denial at work: people proving to themselves that there cannot be a problem if they can continue to discuss the issues in these terms.