When I posted on the recent Energy Deal announced by the UK's governing coalition, I suggested that it had something for everyone: support for renewables, a watering down of carbon targets, a worrying opening for a "dash for gas".
Given the dire climate change consequences in store for Europe, "something for everyone" actually means that nobody will end up winning. The stakes are now simply too high to be messing about with piecemeal solutions.
As if to illustrate this point, the last couple of weeks have brought devastating floods to much of Britain. Calling my parents last week, I heard of trains cancelled, impassable roads, and motorists being swept away by flood waters. The Guardian reports that this weekend brought more flooding and storm chaos:
The government has pledged to help victims of widespread flooding across the UK, as gale force winds and torrential rain across a vast swath of the country claimed the lives of two people. A 21-year-old woman was killed when a tree smashed into her tent while she was sleeping, near Exeter city centre, while a 70-year-old man died after his car crashed into a swollen river in Cambridgeshire.
More rain and possibly even snow has been predicted for this coming week.
As with the climate change related discussion over Frankenstorm Sandy, there is of course no way to say that any one storm was or was not "caused" by manmade climate change. But what we do know is that as the climate gets less stable, climate models predict more, and more destructive, extreme weather events.
Let's keep that in mind next time someone says that 100% renewable energy would be too expensive.