As the leaders of the free world focused on the war on terror, Sir David King, Britains Chief Scientific Adviser issued a chilling statement that too should have been a defining moment. On Oct 15 2005 he said that “the scientific evidence of climate change is irrefutable and the need to reduce greenhouse emissions is pressing. He estimates that by 2080 something like 50 to 100 million people will be displaced in Asia as a result of global warming if we don't do something now. Climate change, he says, has the potential to destablise the political and economic basis of the global system.” But it was not. Most people know of 9/11 but few have even heard of, or care, about David King.
Why is it that a warning of such macro change fails to impact? Why is it that we can modify our travel behaviour at airports because of ‘terrorism’ but we don’t seem willing or interested in really changing our behaviour because of climate change? Why is it that we have a whole group of politicians who trade off climate change imperatives for short term economic wellbeing? And why is it that we would probably vote them out of office if they didn’t! Some think it is because we don’t feel compelled to confront problems we haven’t personally experienced. But who wants to experience a major climate change disaster? 
Last week I was in conversation with a senior manager from a large transnational. A cornerstone of their strategy, he told me, is that climate change is happening and that the world has moved into a future of more expensive energy. As a result his organisation is moving away from fossil fuel dependence to renewable sources as fast as they can. It was his view that most of the competitors and most of the public won’t really understand the strategy until there is a climate change event so dramatic and so irrefutable that no one, but no one will contradict it. “The timeframe for such an event,” I asked? “Around 2008,” he replied.
I don’t want to see any more defining moments caused by the negative impacts of climate change, although I’m all too well aware that in the famine areas of Africa, climate related tragedies are occurring as we speak. For me I would prefer a defining moment when most of us accept David King’s premise as being true, we shun the naysayer’s in the same way we shun the proponents of terrorism, and we agree to work with purpose and urgency to begin to unravel the disaster that we have created.
 For a more detailed version of his comments please go to www.foundation.org.uk and search for the 9th Zuckmann lecture
 I recommend Michael Watkins article: Predictable surprises: the disasters we should have seen coming Harvard Business Review, March 2003 for his thoughts on this matter.