Monday, December 15, 2008

Rudd sells out Australia

Today the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, proved to full of hot air on climate change by setting a mandatory reduction in CO2 emissions target of a worthless 5% cut by 2020.

This abject failure of leadership is a stab in the back to all those who believed his (now obviously empty) rhetoric about needing leadership in tackling climate change.

They try and spin it by saying that it’s a large cut on a per capita basis. Well, yes, it would be, as Australia is ONE OF THE WORLDS BIGGEST CARBON POLLUTERS on a per capita basis – or more accurately Australian companies are amongst the worlds biggest polluters, which, given our small population makes us a large polluter on a per capita basis. This argument is like saying, "right, you pollute 50 tons and we pollute 500 tons. If you reduce your pollution by 50% or 25 tons, we'll reduce ours by 25 tons as well"!

So as we are amongst the biggest transgressors, we should take the biggest hit, shouldn’t we?

It’s the right thing to do.
It’s the fair thing to do.
It’s the moral thing to do.

But not in Rudd’s world, where the big polluters, who have been literally gouging massive profits for years, will be rewarded with low targets and billion dollar payouts as a reward for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prepare for carbon emission limits which they have known for years were coming. Not only that, but he has reduced the threshold for polluters to qualify for free permits to pollute, making the permit system even less effective at initiating change in the practices of our worst polluters.

The leader of the opposition, Malcolm Turnbull is probably slack-jawed in disbelief. That a Prime Minister should so comprehensively turn his back on those who voted for him and his platform of decisive action on climate change, to run into the arms of the only group in Australia that will not vote for him – big business. All Turnbull has to do now is sit tight and wait for the next election. After today, the odds of a single term government (a rarity in Australian politics) is suddenly on the cards.


  1. With all due respect.

    As a retired science teacher and past employee of The Wilderness Society (i.e. an environmentalist) I have been increasingly unsure of the science and truth behind human-induced climate change and the politics behind it. What's worse, as far as I am able to ascertain, we are still in an interglacial period, something that has been completely ignored. The money would have been better spent on such things as more accurate world-wide measuring systems especially in non-urban locations, and better funding for inclusion of clouds into computer climate models. In the meantime, conversion from coal to renewable energy systems would achieve better long term results, while Australia awaits better science on the underlying causes of current climate change.
    I'm not alone in smelling a group-think attitude to climate change that has all the hallmarks of "with us or against us" enviro-fascism. It should be about the science not a new form of religion.

    Feynman would agree with me here I think.....

  2. Anonymous:

    With all due respect, CURRENT science teachers and employees of the wilderness society have next to no credibility when it comes to issues related to climate. Being retired and a "past employee" gives you even less credibility. Scientific issues are becoming ever more specialized because a lot of very detailed knowledge is required to comprehend the issues fully enough. Science also moves incredibly fast, and there are new studies and observations coming in on a daily basis. There might have been room for doubt about anthropogenic climate change a few years ago, but that is not the case now. I suggest you do a little more research (preferably of the primary literature) if you do not believe me. There is obviously not enough room to have a meaningful discussion here.

    Chris: I'm in the US, where news outlets tell you absolutely nothing that doesn't involve the US, so I have no clue what's going on in Australia. Did you really mean to say that he wants to reduce CO2 levels to a "worthless 5% of 2000 levels by 2020."?? That to me seems like a huge deal. Isn't a 95% cut of 2000 levels pretty huge? What am I missing here?

  3. Oh, I just came across a NYT article which says "Australia announced plans Monday to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 5 to 15 percent by 2020". I agree, that is incredibly disappointing.

  4. " I have been increasingly unsure of the science and truth behind human-induced climate change and the politics behind it. What's worse, as far as I am able to ascertain, we are still in an interglacial period, something that has been completely ignored. " -- Anon.

    Why should Zimbabweans care about cholera: they're in an interglacial period, something that has been completely ignored because of politics! Damn climate science! Praise dead physicists -- they ALL agree with me! Zimbabweans should be installing home heating systems to avoid the coming cold snaps, rather than solely focussing on fixing their water systems to deal with the present sewage problem, which is just obscuring a British political plot! I care about my environment! I like Nature.

    Seriously. Australia is a small country. Getting smaller by the minute. I'm from a small country too. It's only getting harder to care about what small developed nations say or do.

  5. Anonymous, I have a science and geology background and did have similar views to you. But I have become convinced by the weight of evidence that global warming is real, and that there is very likely a human component.

    Yes, we should expect wide fluctuations in temperature during interglacials compared with glacial (and greenhouse) conditions, but this warming trend is greater and far more rapid that what we would reasonably expect.

    We have run out of time to wait and see. If we are correct, then we need to act now in order to avoid the worst effects.

    If we are wrong then we will end up with a more energy efficient society, with less dependency on fossil fuels. Yes it will be economically painful, but either result is worth the effort.

    Also the more vocal global warming sceptics rely on deception and deceit. I’ve seen this tactic before in the scientifically vacuous areas of Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism.

    The evidence is strong.
    The time to act is now.


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