Letter: Climatic catastrophe

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Sir: Joanna Depledge (letter, 24 December) asks whether it will take a major flood in London or New York "to shake us from our inertia" over global warming.

I am afraid that only a catastrophic event in the polluting industrialised world will spur us into action.

If the world was truly global in all respects, we would all be feeling pain now after Orissa, Turkey, Venezuela and the other recent natural disasters. The trouble is that we in the developed upper half of the global body are oblivious and numbed to the pain happening in the lower half. We are anaesthetised to the death and destruction because it is parceled up in two-minute clips on our screens, before the more important news of the latest Tory scandal or the football results.

Of course, when there is a major accident in this country - such as Paddington - we are saturated in the story for days on end.

We cannot rely on our government to take action - the focus groups of middle England have clearly told Blair that getting tough on motorists will lose votes. And so the rate of childhood asthma will grow, the quality of life in cities will worsen, and public transport infrastructure will be tinkered with. We do need a flood.

NICK ROSE

London NW5

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