International climate negotiations are deadlocked between the affluent global North and "developing" South, between political Left and Right, and between believers and deniers. Now, authors writing in the latest issue of the International Journal of Water argue that a more integrative analysis of climate should help resolve these conflicts.
Land use changes and water management are highly relevant to climate change. To quote hydrologists Juraj Kohutiar and Michal Kravcik of the Slovak People and Water NGO: "Water evaporation is the most important agent of energy transformation on Earth." Unfortunately, some parts of the media simply play the crisis as a highly antagonistic two-headed controversy between Position 1 - human impacts on climate are negligible, and Position 2 - human impacts are significant and a result of carbon dioxide emissions. This has done little for public understanding and has been exploited by others with political and economic agendas.
The Editor of the IJW special issue, "Water and the Complexities of Climate", Ariel Salleh, environmental sociologist from the University of Sydney, says that public eco-literacy is critical to good climate policy formulation. "Overly simplified climate models are one thing, but governments are proffering economic solutions (like taxes or trading) for ecological problems! This can achieve little on the ground - since economics and ecology deal with two different orders of reality."
Given the political uproar of international climate summits including Copenhagen and Cancun, attention has been deflected from a third variety of scientific opinion - Position 3 - the integrative climate paradigm. This recognizes a range of first-order climate forcings and human-induced causes as significant as carbon dioxide emissions, such as deforestation, agro-industry, and urbanization.
United Nations climate negotiations promote programs such as the Clean Development Mechanism, wher
|Contact: Ariel Salleh|