Climate change - 'For many people the penny hasn't dropped'
Newsnight got a mention this morning in Ed Miliband's speech at the Science Museum.
"We cannot let Copenhagen pass people by," he said at the launch of "Prove It", a temporary exhibit that brings together the evidence for climate change.
The energy and climate change secretary said one of his fears is that this will be "an item on Newsnight, and then people forget about it".
I'm sure he didn't mean that people forget about items on Newsnight... rather that he wants the issue to get a wider audience than our devoted viewers.
And that was the point of this morning's event. Both of the brothers Miliband, Ed and David, the foreign secretary, helped to launch the government's map of the possible effects of a global temperature rise of 4 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
The chief scientist, professor Sir John Beddington, said the map (produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre) showed the disastrous effects of such a temperature rise.
He and Chris Rapley, director of the museum and former director of the British Antarctic Survey, stressed the need for people to understand the dangers of failure at the Copenhagen conference in December.
David Miliband said too many people still failed to grasp the scale and urgency of the problem. He said climate change was a foreign policy issue that will deepen Middle East tensions, trigger wars over water and food, and lead to unprecedented migration unless action is taken now.
"For too many people, not just in our own country but around the world, the penny hasn't yet dropped... that this climate change challenge is real and is happening now...The penny hasn't dropped too that Copenhagen is the chance to address on a global scale the climate change challenge. There isn't yet that sense of urgency and drive and animation about the Copenhagen conference."
Professor Myles Allen, a climate modeller from Oxford University, told me about his own contribution to the exhibition - a tonne of coal. His goal is to make people think about the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. People have already burnt enough fossil fuels to have passed the half a trillion tonne mark.
Prof Allen says that if we are to avoid dangerous climate change then we must never burn the trillionth tonne. If Copenhagen succeeds, the museum will hold on to the "trillionth" tonne in perpetuity. If it fails, museum staff will - eventually - ceremoniously burn this trillionth tonne.
You can find out more, and keep track on the number of tonnes being released on the trillionth tonne "ticker". Prof Allen told me his children "freaked out" when they saw it. Not perhaps his intention, but a sobering message that he hopes will make people think positively about changing their lifestyles.
David Miliband said the stakes are high - affecting the future lives of millions of people. And for the political process too. If the multilateral system is unable to address climate change, then people will say it's a discredited system, he told reporters.
He hinted at the failure this week of EU finance ministers to agree a financial package to help developing countries to adapt to climate change and help prevent it.
And that's perhaps the biggest hurdle ahead, with another chance next week, in the lead up to the European Council meeting in Brussels.
"It will be relatively few people who decide...It will come down to the fundamental question - are leaders prepared to take the potential flak from their own countries from those who say 'we can't afford this'? That is essentially a political decision that requires vision over the long term."