Standard opinion has it that governments respond poorly to climate change because they can only operate on a 5 year electoral cycle. In an original opinion piece in the Guardian (May 29th 2006) Peter Preston challenges this view and points out that the UK government is perfectly able to manage intergenerational planning for energy supply and pensions.
Strangely it is doing so without any consideration of climate change. Preston argues that the government is planning to place new nuclear power stations in areas that will be subject to sea level rise, and is ignoring the role of climate change on the portfolios of the pension plans it is promoting.
Preston points out the disconnection but does not seek to explain it. In my view the lack of joined up thinking is because of a fundamental lack of belief- climate change is too threatening to the world view of policy makers that they are deliberately keeping it as an intellectual abstraction which they can acknowledge without absorbing.