Rio Di Janeiro, March 12, 2009:
Charles Windsor, the heir to the British throne, spoke passionateley yesterday to a group of Brazilian officials regarding the threat of climate change. "As the world's economy heads further into recession, it would be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture; to commit the sin, as we say in England and if you will pardon the terrible pun, of 'not seeing the wood for the trees'. For we are, I fear, at a defining moment in the world's history," he said. "We are facing a series of challenges so immense that we can, perhaps, be forgiven for feeling they are all too forbidding to confront," the Prince of Wales added. "The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behavior before we risk catastrophic climate change," he said. "If we can redouble our efforts to unite the world in meeting perhaps its greatest and most critical challenge, then we may yet be able to prevail and thereby to avoid bequeathing a poisoned chalice to our children and grandchildren," he said.
You may wonder what qualifies Charles to make pronouncements regarding our prospects of surviving climate change. Well, actually you have the same right, and feel free to exercise it. Prince Charles chooses to exercise his right to express himself, as a well educated non-scientist who is summarizing what the climatology community is saying without his name recognition.
In my view, it is possible to quibble with that figure of 100 months. But his construct is useful. Consider that we were first warned of the menace posed by climate change some 20 years ago in testimony before Congress, and in the intervening time as a nation the USA has done exactly nothing about it. Charles is attempting to apply a timeline, a yardstick, to inject a sense of urgency that has been lacking so far. If you say, gotta fix that within 8 years, you make a vague promise, go back to dealing with the recession, then glance at the calendar in 2017 and say dang, I knew I was forgetting something. But if you are dealing with climate change in monthly terms, you can remind yourself at the end of each month that you failed to replace fossil fuel with renewables yet again, and next month you are going to have to try harder.
Who would be be in favor of a monthly series on that theme, the 100 months of slowing climate change? Feel free to sneer at Prince Charles failed marriage, but that is irrelevant to this issue. As I say, it is already noted that Charles is a non-scientist- but it should also be noted that he is merely echoing the voices of scientists who are not being heard.