How Do We Face Extreme Climate Change?

Day 1 in Oslo began on foot, getting my bearings on an early morning walk past neat houses nestled into the undulating hills around the harbour.

I soon found myself pondering the human condition on a bridge over Frogner-dammen, face to face with sculptures by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) that display the full range of our capacity for love, tenderness, anger, cruelty, compassion, friendship, family loyalty.

The power of human emotions was a recurring theme that afternoon, with the first conference session on “Extreme Dialogue on Climate Extremes – Building a Bridge to the Future” in the expert hands of Nisha Pillai, former anchor of BBC World News.

To set the scene, a few selected participants shared their vision of what future “climate extremes” looked like from their perspectives:
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Adelaide to Oslo

I’m on my way to a “Transformation in a Changing Climate” Conference, jointly run by Oslo University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre – a great honour.  A 7 hour transit in Kuala Lumpur airport has been long enough to sort out my computer and electronic challenges. So, after a frantic lead-up to my departure, with family sorry business around the death of my mother on 8th May and a last ditch effort to get my paper finished, I’m tackling my first blog.

En route to Oslo, I’ve pondered how much and how little has changed since I went to the Copenhagen climate talks as a community representative in 2009.

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Imagining a nation free of fossil fuel investment - New Internationalist magazine cartoonist – New Internationalist magazine cartoonist

It’s simple really. If you want good things to happen, invest in them. If you want to stop bad things happening, cut off their funding.

But that’s not yet occurring. Banks, super-funds and governments keep investing in activities that we know are rapidly destroying the life-support systems of our planet, and it must stop.

That’s why the Bill McKibben Tour this week is so powerful and so important. Bill is a passionate advocate for divestment – getting out of investments in fossil fuels – and his presentations are clear and memorable. If you know a banker, a superannuation fund employee or a government worker, invite them to join you at one of the events on the Bill McKibben Do the Maths roadshow. You can book now for live events in Canberra – June 5th (with internet simulcasts to Adelaide, Hobart and Perth), Canberra National Press Club – June 6th, Melbourne – June 7th and Brisbane – June 9th.
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