Climate Code Red was the most important single document published on climate change in 2008. Because climate change is now understood to be of humanity threatening seriousness and a crisis that needs emergency action immediately. Climate Code Red has to be considered as the most important document on any subject published this year.
But Climate Code Red received less than minimal coverage from all of the TV and newspaper conglomerates that make up the mainstream media and the vast majority of the public - except the very few who cover climate change closely - have never even heard of it.
2008 was a watershed year: the global economic meltdown and the end of the sorry Bush years with the election of the hopefully progressive Barrack Obama. But the serious and immediate danger of runaway climate change is still not appreciated, the science and policy literature and the possible planning for massive systemic reconfiguration needed to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still not even on the menu of mainstream understanding and debate.
Climate Code Red was a paper on the emerging science investigating the unprecedented and unpredicted rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap and the policy consequences necessary. It was written by Aussies David Spratt and Philip Sutton as input to Australia's Garnaut Inquiry on climate change. First put up on the net in February and now a book, it is well researched, well written, thought provoking on as important a subject as exists, and yet it was almost completely ignored by the mainstream media.
Sutton and Spratt's first chapter description of the melting Arctic emerging science - especially the work of Dr. James Hansen and his NASA team - remains the single best public presentation of this climate change tipping point danger. Their closing chapters on the need for governments everywhere to initiate emergency-legislated mobilization for immediate action to reduce emissions - because political and economic business as usual is too slow and path dependent to allow for necessary change - has been cited as Churchillian by those who recognize the sinister danger.
But the very idea of government with emergency powers leading a systemic reconfiguration of our socio-economy is heresy and that is why the mainstream media refused to even mention Climate Code Red. You will find nothing on climate change as a possible emergency requiring such action in the mainstream media. Nor will you see opinion pieces on editorial pages by climate scientists or activists even postulating this possible danger and possible mitigation strategies.
Media owners have earned their right to an editorial voice, but rights carry responsibilities and no media owner should use this voice to misinform and all are accountable to the community. To suppress or withhold knowledge about a danger to the community is wrong. To not lead in informing about the possibility that climate change is an emergency is irresponsible. To not cover at all the emerging science and policy literature trying to educate about this humanity threatening danger could be part of a crime that dwarfs the Holocaust.
2009 has to be the year we turn the corner on climate change. It must be the year where we escape business as usual and the politics of failure to initiate emergency action to not only halt the rise of GHG emissions but agree to a plan for systemic reconfiguration of our socio-economies globally in order to get to a post carbon economy quickly in order to return to below the precautionary 350 ppm ceiling before the Arctic ice cap is irretrievably gone. Relocalization instead of globalization; powering down instead of ever increasing use of energy; the end of the car-sprawl, consumer economy in favor of a way of quality, meaningful living with a future.
Climate Code Red is available in book form and as a pdf at http://www.civicus.org/new/media/climatecodered_1.pdf