There are several responses possible with regards to the floods in Britain, the peculiar weather in the United States (tornados, snow and unseasonably warm, but not in the same place), warm winter in Switzerland, forest fires in Australia and floods elsewhere throughout the world. The most obvious is that “We told you so”, but unfortunately a smug response isn’t really a satisfactory reply to the misery of millions and the tragedy of thousands, especially given that in many cases the overstretched emergency services have only saved as many lives and property as they have thanks to genuine heroism and great self-sacrifice.
In truth, as far as the Western World is concerned the issue isn’t that the authorities are ignorant of the worsening affects of climate change, but that they wilfully ignore it (sometimes also accepting cheques to do so from the Koch brothers and other wealthy sponsors) and in many cases in the pursuit of a narrow political agenda has actively made things worse.
With regards to the latter, I would urge anyone from the UK to read this article by George Monbiot in the Guardian that spells out the ties between austerity for those unlikely to ever vote Tory and the subsidies for the Tory paymasters, and how this has contributed to the chaos caused by the floods:
Obviously, my own opinions are fairly close to those of George Monbiot, but even for those who might protest at the implication that the interests of the wealthy are necessarily to the detriment of the remaining 99% and the planet we all share, it does seem fairly indisputable that this blind creed of “taxes bad and public spending worse” does conflict with what is required to prevent the damage caused by the climate change that in itself is a product of the doctrine of greed to which almost all Western (and most non-Western) powers follow so blindly.
What use is austerity when its end result is mass poverty, environmental degradation that will spare no one and the ever-growing risk of civil unrest?