It is not about the Greens, nor even about the teals, it is about the science and the planet. Despite the recent electoral shift, another parliament will desperately evade the truth, that we are destroying our bountiful, beautiful and only life support system.
In a music album by the Canadian group The Weather Station, songwriter Tamara Lindeman sings “At some point you’d have to live as if the truth was true.” The line is in the song Loss and, like the entire album, the reference is both to the loss of a relationship with another person and to our civilisation’s loss of its relationship with the natural world.
As parliament reconvenes with Labor in charge, our society’s relationship with the natural world is front and centre.
You can’t argue with climate deniers, they have a never-ending supply of excuses. You won’t persuade the Coalition, the mining industry has hijacked it. Labor is too scared and too compromised to do what is needed. That is why your greatest power is your vote.
If you usually vote for one of the old parties, you need to change your vote. Find a candidate who rates global warming a top priority, who will stop the huge annual fossil fuel subsidies and switch them to renewables, who will disallow any new carbon extraction projects, and who will release the brakes on a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, supporting the workers as we go.
That candidate might be an Independent or with a minor party. If your response is ‘Oh I could never vote for them’, think about that.
Analyses of the economic effects of global warming by prominent economists are based on patently invalid arguments, profound ignorance of the global response to solar energy and basic misrepresentation of scientific sources. Their conclusion that the effects are minor is egregiously in error and use of their analyses to advise governments has placed the world in peril.
Economist Steve Keen has published a critique (and summary) of analyses by William Nordhaus and others of the effects of global warming on the global economy. Those analyses, incorporated into official IPCC reports, suggest the effects of global warming are minor. Keen’s critique reveals the analyses to be absurdly deficient, reflecting not only profound ignorance but patently invalid arguments and a lack of scholarly integrity.
Two years ago I posted the latest plot of global temperature, and argued that if trends continue, as they are likely to do, the Great Barrier Reef has little chance of surviving beyond 2030 as more than a sad remnant in its southern reaches. Even if we suddenly got serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions the warming will still continue for 2-4 decades, and the damage would only be deferred.
The greater danger is that the warming will tip into being irreversible if it is not soon reversed. In that case our grandchildren would inherit a very different and hostile world.
There is a climate crisis. Deniers commonly have one or two facts that they claim show the scientists are wrong: the climate has always changed, carbon dioxide is only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, and so on. They have an endless supply of supposed justifications for doing nothing.
Evidently the deniers imagine the climate scientists never thought of these objections, never investigated them. Well, they did.
There was no big revelation, just a train of thought. Nearly a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef is dead, and there has been no discernible political response. Global temperature is rising off the chart, only glancingly noted in the torrent of chatter. The decades-long trend of ever-more perverse and destructive politics continues. Societies are fragmenting.
For perhaps two decades I have held to the thought that while ever there was a chance of avoiding a planetary tipping point I would continue explaining how we can avoid the worst. Through that time, the path to a healthy, stable world has become clearer and more obvious, demonstrated in a thousand practical, small-scale ways. All that time the window of opportunity was closing. It is, in my judgement, barely open any more.
An article by Bob Douglas on the dire need for real political leadership prominently features Sack the Economists, along with a new book by prominent Australian economist Ross Garnaut, Dog Days: Australia After the Boom, the latter launched by prominent Liberal politician Malcolm Turnbull. Tony Abbot deposed Turnbull as Leader of the Opposition in 2009, winning by one vote, otherwise Turnbull would probably now be Prime Minister.
See Bob Douglas’ article in the Sydney Morning Herald here. It also appears in the Melbourne Age and the Canberra Times.
The IPCC (InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change) cops a lot of stick for allegedly being radical, part of the great climate-science-greenie-leftie-jewish-commo conspiracy, etc. But in fact it is too slow and conservative, witness the world is tracking on the high side of its projections.
One IPCC habit that annoys me is running projections only to the year 2100. We know warming and its consequences won’t stop there, so the choice is pure bureaucratic nonsense.
Here is a rare example of a more useful graph, showing warming continuing for more than a century beyond 2100. God knows what sort of world our great- … – grandchildren would be contending with.
You may have read or heard that the shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice recently smashed the previous 2007 record low. You may not have heard of a new study that says we might, just, still have a chance of keeping global warming below 2°C. You may or may not have heard that some prominent climate scientists, including James Hansen, think 2°C is too high, and we need to keep warming below 1.5°C or even 1°C.
All this means we might still have a chance of avoiding “dangerous” global warming, but the chance is already small, and diminishing very rapidly. It also means we are not doing nearly enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even though there is a great deal more we can do at quite modest cost to our economies.