Home > Environment, Oz Politics > Three universes collide!

Three universes collide!

November 25th, 2009

I’ve been very busy with asset sales, the problems of the Murray-Darling Basin, my still-in-progress book and other commitments too numerous to list, with the result that I’ve had no time to comment on the spectacular events in the climate change debate. But it’s finally too much to ignore.

I’ve long pointed out the “parallel universe” nature of the discussion that goes on under the name of “scepticism”. Over the last couple of days, that parallel universe has collided with the universe of Australian practical politics, with catastrophic results for Malcolm Turnbull in particular.

The timing is particularly galling for the delusionists who are uniformly convinced that the University of East Anglia emails they have stolen and promulgated prove beyond doubt … well, something sinister. Surely, they think, this will persuade the weak-kneed Liberals to stop while we hold a full inquiry. Following the analogy of Newtongate it’s as if, just as the vorticists had found the crucial ‘smoking gun’, a letter exposing Newton’s use of hired thugs to beat up Cartesian critics, they looked out from their shiny new antigravity machine and realised that some very hard ground was approaching them at a speed of hundreds of metres per second.

For Kevin Rudd, the effect is a free gift of Master of the (Australian political) universe. Counting Costello, Turnbull is the fourth Liberal leader he’s destroyed in the space of exactly two years. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome than facing an opponent who could barely beat “None of the above” in a ballot of his own party and is in place only because no one else wants the job. And when Turnbull finally goes, the likelihood that either Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott is going to provide a serious challenge seems close to zero. Whether as supporters or opponents of the leaders, the fruit loops are running wild now, and unlikely to be reined in.

But in the actual physical universe the results aren’t so good for the Australian public or for out contribution to stabilizing the global climate. The combined efforts of rentseekers and delusionists have ensured that, assuming the Senate finally ratifies the Rudd-Turnbull deal, we’ll have a CPRS that is both far more expensive and far less effective than it should have been. It’s still, I think better than nothing, but it’s a deplorable outcome to an unedifying process.

Categories: Environment, Oz Politics Tags:
  1. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:44 | #1

    @stuart

    Not only agriculture but forestry and transport is out. Transport is a major component. They could have measured agriculture even before Garnaut, had they been interested.

    And if they adjust targets the legislation provides for more compensation to the polluters.

    MoSH said:

    I don’t believe even a perfect ETS would be enough to deal with the problem. I believe there was always going to be a need for governments, industry and individuals to act in other more direct ways.

    I agree, but a strong and consistent ETS would have created a framework in which the government could have applied strong regulatory pressure with minimal flexing of its powers.

    Now, regulation is our last hope, although I suppose it is possible that the government could bring in some form of individualised carbon dioxide rationing and perhaps insist on audited product labelling so people could stay within their budget or purchase carboin emissions credits. Ooops … I’m dreaming again.

  2. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:46 | #2

    @Paul Williams

    There are no benefits of this ETS, excpet perhaps to the big polluters and the enemies of serious action.

    Is that what you were asking?

  3. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:48 | #3

    “The link I posted above states that the scheme covers “75 per cent of national emissions”. My assumption is that this figure includes scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.”

    Your assumption is wrong. It covers only scope 1 and 2.

  4. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:50 | #4

    @Paul Williams
    Ross Garnaut has given it a lot of thought. You might try http://www.rossgarnaut.com.au/ClimateChange.html

    I personally would like an explanation of why the current state of the economy is so wonderful. We have never had it so good yet many still live in poverty, Australia does little for the rest of the world except export a lot of coal and minerals, we are continuing to live beyond our means managing resources like water and the well healed are able to minimise their tax thanks to the many generous loop holes left wide open for them. Not to mention rampant asset price inflation and record levels of debt.

  5. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:50 | #5

    @Paul Williams
    Ross Garnaut has given it a lot of thought. You might try http://www.rossgarnaut.com.au/ClimateChange.html

    I personally would like an explanation of why the current state of the economy is so wonderful. We have never had it so good yet many still live in poverty, Australia does little for the rest of the world except export a lot of coal and minerals, we are continuing to live beyond our means managing resources like water and the well healed are able to minimise their tax thanks to the many generous loop holes left wide open for them. Not to mention rampant asset price inflation and record levels of debt.

  6. November 26th, 2009 at 15:01 | #6

    Mind you, having the Liberals suddenly perceive the catastrophic risks of inaction wouldn’t necessarily help. I’ve just been to the disaster movie 2012, and while I wouldn’t actually go to the stake to defend its grasp of physics its basic sociological insight – that faced with the end of the world rich bastards and their flunkies will let all the rest of us die horribly while they retire to large arks in the Himalayas – sounds disturbingly plausible.

  7. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 15:04 | #7

    Stuart,

    The other thing you have to keep in mind is that not only does the CPRS cover less than half of our total emissions (across all scopes), any reduction (between 5-20% of scope 1 and 2 emissions) will be largely substituted by increasing scope 3 emissions (in the absence of an effective global price signal).

    The likely effect of the CPRS is that by 2020 Australia’s total emissions (across all scopes) will be increased.

  8. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 15:34 | #8

    @ChrisB

    I saw the movie and it was a great romp. I couldn’t but wonder though — if you believe in the end of the world so much that you are willing to pay a billion Euro each to get onto the ark, wouldn’t you be prepared to pay 100% of your wealth to get on board?

    Let’s face it, it’s not as if the paper money is going to be worth anything once the world ends. Surely if you were running the deal you’d auction off the places. Then again, I suppose if you can’t take it with you …

    I also wondered how you’d keep something like that secret. After all, if money and resources of that magnitude started being moved about, all the accountants would know and then everyone else would know too.

  9. Paul Williams
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:02 | #9

    Thanks for the link, Michael. I’ve printed off his Nov 4 Hawke Lecture pdf, presumably the answer will be in there. You’d think Rudd, Wong or Turnbull would have enumerated the benefits. I’m sure there would be one or two voters who would like to know.

  10. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:08 | #10

    @Fran Barlow
    what were they going to do with the money after the world ended?

  11. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:09 | #11

    aaargh my post should be deleted – but did they give any explanation?

  12. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:11 | #12
    which will take tens of thousands of years. Good luck to humanity to keep up the geo-engineering for that long.

    Michael:

    Levitt didn’t prepose geo-engineering as a substitute for reducing carbon dioxide levels. This would also need to be done.

    Archer’s point was that the natural system, which is what you were talking about, will take tens of thousands of years to absorb the excess CO2.

    On the other hand, if you want to set up artificial absorption of CO2 then that will require a fortune in money and energy.

  13. Ikonoclast
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:12 | #13

    @Fran Barlow

    We will have a sustainable world economy by 2100. The few humans left (if any) will be having little discernable impact as the biosphere begins a million years long (or longer) recovery cycle from the Greatest Extinction Event On Earth.

  14. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:24 | #14

    @nanks

    I assume the money was used to pay people to build the arks. I will avoid discussing the ending as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going, but it remained unclear how those who made it into the ark would sort out social arrangements, given that there was a disproportionate number of rich useless old criminals/parasites amongst them.

  15. Peter T
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:24 | #15

    If the parallel with fishing policy holds, the experts will advise serious consequences without drastic cuts, industry will reject this, policy will compromise, and then consequences will arrive, step one will be repeated a couple of times, serious consequences will arrive, and drastic action will be taken (usually too late). See, for example, deep sea tuna, Atlantic cod, North sea herring….

    I imagine we will be having another act, with less compensation and more coverage, in 3-4 years, and another again after that. With luck, we might get a couple of Katrina/Chernobyl moments that give impetus to quick urgent action at the cost of only a few hundred deaths.

    Might be worth thinking about what would provide greatest global leverage against persistent emitters – carbon tariffs? Selective import bans? A declared wind-down of coal coupled with sanctions against other coal exporters?

  16. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:26 | #16

    This just in … Tony Abbott to leave the front bench; gossip about a new meeting aimed at reversing coalition approval of the CPRS … whoo hoo!

    This is about as a good a piece of news as I could have hoped for

  17. November 26th, 2009 at 16:32 | #17

    Pr Q says:

    For Kevin Rudd, the effect is a free gift of Master of the (Australian political) universe. Counting Costello, Turnbull is the fourth Liberal leader he’s destroyed in the space of exactly two years. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome than facing an opponent who could barely beat “None of the above” in a ballot of his own party and is in place only because no one else wants the job.

    This is a bit of a stretch, partisans getting carried away in the moment. It is neither fair nor reasonable to count Costello as one of Rudd’s victims. Costello was cooling his heels on the back-bench and did not even bother to throw his hat into the leadership ring, let alone go head-to-head against Rudd. Its more likely that Costello saw the demographic writing on the wall and realised that Blind Freddie could see that a drovers dog could lead the ALP to victory in the 2010 election.

    The destruction of Turnbull has not yet gone through the formality of occurring. The LP Right did not even have enough numbers to declare a leadership spill, let alone anyone make serious challenge. As Malcom Farr remarks, Turnbull’s victory in the spill motion was better than his personal victory in his successful 2008 leadership bid.

    That leaves Howard and Nelson. Two LP leader scalps collected by Rudd in two years, not bad but flattered by the rising ALP tide.

  18. Ken
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:35 | #18

    The ETS is a dud, that’s certain. I think Labor’s concessions are the ones they themselves want but don’t want to be seen to want. By blaming the Liberals and Nationals they get the kind of watered down policy that allows BAU without getting the blame. It’s all about trying to stem the flow of votes by increasing numbers of concerned Australians away from them to the Greens.

  19. sHx
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:36 | #19

    Comrade Quiggin,

    Just as I was pondering about the meaning of “delusionist”, I was knocked about the head with “vorticist”. What do they mean?

    Fortunately, there are dictionary and wiki entries for vorticism but I fail to understand why you drag in an avant-garde art movement that died a century ago into the climate debate.

    As for delusionism, there is neither a wiki or dictionary entry for it. I can only place it’s meaning between devolutionism and illusionism but I am not certain. Is delusionism a system of thought or is it an illness passed through the genes of mad magicians?

    Ta, comrade.

  20. jquiggin
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:43 | #20

    @sHx I was alluding to Descartes’ vortex theory of planetary motion, displaced by notorious scientist Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.

  21. November 26th, 2009 at 16:47 | #21

    Pr Q says:

    And when Turnbull finally goes, the likelihood that either Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott is going to provide a serious challenge seems close to zero. Whether as supporters or opponents of the leaders, the fruit loops are running wild now, and unlikely to be reined in.

    Nor are the “fruitloops” in the LP “running wild” nearly so much as the media-academia complex would have us believe. Although it has to be admitted that Turnbull in particular, and the LP in general, have been damaged by the antics of the LP Right-wing. How much remains to be seen, a week is a long time. I suspect that Newspoll will not show any dramatic decline in LP support.

    To compare, through the first half of the naughties the ALP had four leadership spills where a sitting leader was successfully challenged from the party floor. In the latter part of the naughties the LP have so far have had one leadership spill.

    I predict that Turnbull will “rein them in” enough to go to the 2010 election. Neither Hockey or Abbott will make a successful leadership bid in the run-up to the 2010 election. I will put up $20 to the first five comers on this. (My recent form on LP leaders has been patchy. I correctly predicted that Howard would lead the LP into the 2007 election but I incorrectly predicted that Costello would bide his time until 2011+.)

    In the 2010 contest I have already predicted that the ALP will win ~ 53-47 TPP. My guess is that Turnbull’s good personal performance will play well to mainstream voters and will somewhat counterbalance the LP’s secular decline and the “fruitloops”.

  22. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:47 | #22

    Fran Barlow :
    This just in … Tony Abbott to leave the front bench; gossip about a new meeting aimed at reversing coalition approval of the CPRS … whoo hoo!
    This is about as a good a piece of news as I could have hoped for

    I’m hoping they start a push for intelligent design and go for complete environmental disaster to usher in ‘the rapture’

  23. Ken
    November 26th, 2009 at 17:33 | #23

    Am I missing something or would the Governments legislation pass through the Senate with only a few votes from Opposition members? Plenty willing to defy their party to stop it but not a one taking the issue seriously enough to defy their party to make an unwatered ETS and CPRS happen? Of course it was a pretty weak scheme to begin with and I, personally, think watering down was always the intention but I don’t see anyone on that side of politics pushing for greater and more urgent action on climate change and willing to make a personal stand to do so. We do get the “but it won’t fix the problem anyway” criticisms but only as rhetoric from those who advocate inaction, not as part of a strong stance on climate change. Haven’t they had access to the same expert scientific advice as the Government?

  24. Tim Macknay
    November 26th, 2009 at 19:14 | #24

    Iain, I’m sure you’ll be happy to acknowledge that your statement that Australia’s emissions (across all scopes) will increase by 2020 under the CPRS is misleading, in the sense that it will only be the case if no other country takes any serious action to reduce emissions. Under that scenario, any Australian climate change policy will be useless, regardless of how much better it lokks than the CPRS.

    For those who may not be familiar with Iain’s terminology, scope 3 emissions (in this context) refer to emissions produced by third parties in which Australia indirectly plays a role (for example, emissions from Japanese power stations burning coal purchased from Australia).

    Scope 3 emissions are generally not counted when calculating the emissions of a particular party (or country) for the obvious reason that they are not under that party’s control. E.g. if Australia stopped exporting coal to Japan (at considerable cost to ourselves), that would not necessarily reduce Japan’s emissions, as it could obtain coal from other suppliers. Hence, those scope 3 emissions are counted as Japanese emissions, rather than Australian.

    Counting Australia’s scope 3 emissions under the CPRS is really just a rhetorical sleight-of-hand designed to make the scheme look worse than it actually is.

  25. November 26th, 2009 at 19:41 | #25

    The real question, of course, is:

    “What will Malcolm Turnbull look like on the back bench?”

  26. sHx
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:11 | #26

    “@sHx I was alluding to Descartes’ vortex theory of planetary motion, displaced by notorious scientist Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.”

    John, this is a bad analogy. Today’s collaborative scientific practice is much more open and honest -so, we hope- than the lone, scientific genious of Newton’s era. Phil Jones is not Isaac Newton, and neither does he dabble in -so we hope again!- any ‘delusionist’ scientific experiments like Newton did. Newton’s theory displaced Descartes’ not by public brawl or government action, but by better science. It was Halley’s Comet, returning 70 years after the publication of ‘Principia’, that became the first nail in ‘vorticists’ coffin.

    I am no scientist, but from what I have learned studying some history and philosophy of science is that, in science, it pays off to be cautious. This is not the case with climate science. Climate science is in a state of frenzy and hyperbole. It’s output is full of doom and gloom calling for immediate action. Why isn’t there a time-out on this, a cooling-off period, so to speak? A chance for a new generation of scientists to collect more data, develop better models, and test the old ones. Just what kind of damage could we have done to the world’s atmosphere in the last 150 years that cannot be undone in the next 150 years? Are we really so helpless? Climate scientists of Phil Jones and Micheal Mann’s generation will get to see the entire transformation of world economy, based on their science, between their graduation and retirement. This is too short a period of time for anyone seeking historical analogies to the AGW theory.

  27. paul walter
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:17 | #27

    Must admit being introduced to the Liebniz Clarke (Newton proxy) debate and am still trying to work out all the implicatons of that.
    Thank god Kant turned up.

  28. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:24 | #28

    Tim,

    The environment counts all emissions.

    And Australia is fully responsible for its scope 3 emissions.

    If we continue to import high carbon intensive products – but reduce our own emissions on our own soil – then we are kidding ourselves that we have an effective carbon “reduction” scheme going on.

    I agree – there is, indeed, a sleight of hand going on.

  29. November 26th, 2009 at 22:21 | #29

    Pr Q says:

    But in the actual physical universe the results aren’t so good for the Australian public or for out contribution to stabilizing the global climate. The combined efforts of rentseekers and delusionists have ensured that, assuming the Senate finally ratifies the Rudd-Turnbull deal, we’ll have a CPRS that is both far more expensive and far less effective than it should have been. It’s still, I think better than nothing, but it’s a deplorable outcome to an unedifying process.

    I’m sure that Pr Q’s indignant reaction at the “rent-seekers and delusionists” is genuine. But I’m not sure it should have come as a such a great shock to him.

    I have predicted from the get-go (2007) that a practical ETS in the AUS context is will turn into a “Potemkin Village carbon trading scheme”. The rorts, rackets and exemptions that Pr Q rails against are not bugs that could have been ironed out by a sane political system. They are features that were always intended by the major political players, particularly major mineral and agricultural interests who stand to lose the most from true carbon costing.

    For once it gives me no pleasure to say “I was right”.

    Its depressing for a number of reasons to see the LP riven with conflict over the ETS. On the whole it is a good party which provides much needed political balance and ballast to the anthropological delusionism of Left-wing cultural elites. But it is not doing much of a service to the nation by catering to ecological delusionism in its own Right-wing rural and regional base.

    And from the nation’s point of view the spectacle of the LP being riven by delusionists is not a pretty one, even if reason and sanity prevailed at the end. Especially when it happens on the same day as a report predicting 4 deg C warming by 2065 with a BAU scenario. That would cause havoc for the children and grand-children of the current LP party room.

    I will indulge in some reckless optimism contrarianism and suggest that this is the nadir of the LP and that from here on they will recover, both in policy and in politics.

  30. Monkey’s Uncle
    November 26th, 2009 at 22:54 | #30

    “That would cause havoc for the children and grand-children of the current LP party room.” – Jack.

    I do find it somewhat odd and amusing that climate change is often presented as an issue of morality and intergenerational equity. That is, there is a moral obligation on today’s people to preserve the planet and its resources for those who will still be around in future.

    And yet the people who run this argument, by and large, are those who generally don’t care about questions of intergenerational equity when it comes to other policies like increasing government debt or higher public spending geared towards retirees and the elderly. Suddenly it is okay to allow people to help themselves to more goodies and stuff the consequences for those who will still be around in future.

    It seems that climate change is the only issue that ever gets framed as a moral or philosophical issue. Everything else exists in the absence of the bigger picture and in an environment of short-term opportunism.

  31. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 23:12 | #31

    Monkey’s Uncle:

    That is, there is a moral obligation on today’s people to preserve the planet and its resources for those who will still be around in future.

    And yet the people who run this argument, by and large, are those who generally don’t care about questions of intergenerational equity when it comes to other policies like increasing government debt

    Maybe they actually do care about intergenerational equity but they believe there is something more important than government debt at stake, e.g. education.

    or higher public spending geared towards retirees and the elderly.

    You’ll have to refresh my memory as to who you’re referring to.

    It seems that climate change is the only issue that ever gets framed as a moral or philosophical issue.

    You haven’t thought very much about this. There are other issues with a moral component involved e.g. education, health and welfare in general.

  32. paul walter
    November 26th, 2009 at 23:12 | #32

    Unfortunately, have to concur with salvage of Tories, the whole ramshackle system is under threat from these irresponsible moral delinquents, but a proper opposition is necessary for it to work. While Turnbull remains there is still a faint hope they can be dragged out of the Dark Ages and have their attention recollected to the job the public renumerates them for in such a generous way, as an opposition responsible for objective review of government policies involving real world issues.
    I’m as much amused of these people ( Tuckey, etc ) as I would be if forced to witness the tantrums of a small child on a supermarket floor.

  33. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:23 | #33

    JQ maybe delete post above. Looks sus to me. Done, thanks. Spam filter usually catches those

  34. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:28 | #34

    @Jack Strocchi
    I hope you are right Jack (nadir of LP) because they have a long way to improve to get out of the well of all the wholesale ideologies they have been adopting and starting actually thinking again.

  35. jquiggin
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:38 | #35

    @Jack Strocchi
    Jack, the article you cite on ALP leadership spills is in error. Both Crean and Latham resigned. Beazley spilled Crean and was, deservedly, spilled himself.

  36. paul walter
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:49 | #36

    What “sus”?
    It all genuinely nauseates me.
    Watching last night’s house of reps didn’t help, either.

  37. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 06:24 | #37

    Apparently Rudd plans to guillotine debate on the ETS in order to force it through while Turnbull is still leader. Which will mean he will fully own it, and the Libs can deflect some of the electoral backlash once the voters notice their economic welfare going down the gurgler.

    Still, no pain, no gain.

    Has anyone got a concise list of the benefits of an Australian ETS? There must be some.

    I’m afraid the Garnaut link didn’t contain such a summary. As the consensus (ha ha) here seems to be that an ETS would be a good thing, I’m sure you would have discussed the benefits somewhere?

  38. iain
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:47 | #38

    Concise list of benefits:

    Provides (minor) momentum to Copenhagen discussion (if passed in time),

    Provides working framework for a secondary market for CO2 emission suppliers,

    Can be scaled and integrated with other similar frameworks (eg EU ETS),

    5% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions that the government bothers to measure (at best),

    Mid level price signal over the short term ($20-30/tonne) for emissions that the government bothered to include in the deal,

  39. Tim Macknay
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:58 | #39

    The environment counts all emissions.

    And Australia is fully responsible for its scope 3 emissions.

    Iain, this is just tosh and you know it. The first sentence is true but irrelevant for the purposes of allocating responsibility. And the second – do you seriously believe that Australia is “fully responsible” for Japanese and Korean scope 1 emissions ? Presumably then, only fossil fuel exporting countries have a responsibility to reduce emissions, and the others (including the United States) are as innocent as babies. Is Saudi Arabia “fully responsible” for American SUV driving habits? I seriously doubt that this is your intention. Do you really think an Australian ETS should require the reduction of Australia’s scope 3 emissions in the absence of a global carbon price? Presumably you realise that this would entail some kind of embargo on energy exports to our major trading partners. Honestly, how effective do you think such a policy would be in bringing down global emissions? Come off it! The CPRS has enough flaws to criticise it without bringing in irrelevant distractions.

  40. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:41 | #40

    @paul walter
    Paul…’sus’…suspicious post with suspicious poss link

  41. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:47 | #41

    Tonight on ABC1 at 7.30 special one hour Kerry Obrien on the unsightly mess in libland politics and the ets

  42. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:10 | #42

    iain, I was thinking more along the lines of what value the ordinary Australian would receive for the extra money they will pay out.

    It is fairly obvious that an ETS will be a bonanza for legislators, bureaucrats and speculators.

    The ordinary voter might expect a bit more for the $1100 per household the ETS will add to their expenses, which is marginally up from Kevin Rudd’s pre-election estimate of $1 per person.

  43. chrisl
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:55 | #43

    Paul. I will double your $1100 and see you $1100
    If an agreement in Copenhagen is ratified the 5% target becomes 20%, so presumably the $1100 becomes $4400.
    And we need 60% reduction by 2020
    $1100 here, $4400 there, pretty soon you are talking real money!

  44. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 16:26 | #44

    @chrisl
    No doubt the money will be well spent. (What could possibly go wrong?)

    But on what?

    The voters would probably like to know.

    It is quite difficult to get anyone to list the benefits, including my local Liberal member, who supports the Turnbull/Rudd/Wong position.

    Imagine setting up a stall at the local market, selling carbon credits, $1100 for a years worth, wife and kids included. It’d be easier to sell rat on a stick!

  45. Ken
    November 30th, 2009 at 17:29 | #45

    The main benefit in taking action is in reducing the future adverse consequences that arise from human induced climate change. These may include avoiding drastic reduction of agricultural output, the loss of low lying land and reduced costs for levees or other “fixes”. Probably too late for the Great Barrier Reef and a lot of ecosystem damage even if true, vigorous policy action was implemented. Then there’s the problem of climate change refugees and security issues arising from famines, dislocation and sanctions or possibly even military actions against recalcitrant nations that feel that they should be entitled to continue increasing or refusing to reduce emissions.

    Whether the ETS is the best or sufficient action for Australia’s portion of responsibility – which is more than most nations unless you truly believe profiting from the supply of products with known harmful long term consequences is an inalienable right – is debatable but angling to do no more than the least that the most recalcitrant of other nations do and treating our current highest per capita emissions as reason to make less reductions rather than more do look like evidence of denial of responsibility for our own actions.

    When the extravagant wastefulness we currently take as our right comes at the expense of future prosperity and we deny all responsibility for those costs and consequences we will not be seen as decent and noble by the billions in developing nations that will bear the brunt of those costs.

Comment pages
1 2 7385
Comments are closed.