Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: Environment

The Self Doubt of Greg Hunt

Hidden among the reaction to the first Australian Government Direct Action emissions abatement auctions is an interesting and revealing response from the relevant minister Greg Hunt.
To recap, the Direct Action scheme has spent 25% of the funds allocated to abate carbon. For that spend, it will  theoretically abate 15% of the required 5% emissions reduction. Both figures are far too low by world standards.
Hunt believes that the full target can be achieved in the timeframe. No-one else does.
Hunt has derided his critics as ALP stooges and exaggerated the price of carbon under the ALP government ($1300) without an accompanying explanation.
Typically, it seems, much like his colleagues he’s afraid of criticism and prepared to exaggerate. So there’s nothing to see here, just move along.
But it was Hunt’s recollection of his conversation with  John Connor of the Climate Institute  that was for me most revealing.
Hunt claimed they gave him  full approval. The Climate Institute clarified the conversation just stating they saw the process as transparent and the projects had potential
I wondered, “Why would Hunt do that?”
My surmise is that those are the words of a man driven by self-doubt.
His course should now be clear. Hunt should admit he needs a better plan. A real ETS. It would cure his self-doubt too.

Environment Victoria BreakThrough : A New Era of Climate Activism

Presented by the Sustainable Living Foundation, the National Centre for Climate Restoration BreakThrough 2014 October forum had a surprising thread of hope and optimism.

So often climate change events have an overriding pessimism and a sense of acting against forces beyond our control (political, economic as well as the environment).

Perhaps they took the view that optimism is that path taken once pessimism is exhausted.

The first speaker was David Spratt author of Climate Code Red who talked about dangerous climate change.

He made several major points:

  1. Climate science research is firstly out-of-date by the time it is received by the IPCC.
  2. 2 degrees of warming is no margin of safety.
  3. The carbon budget is spent.

The second speaker was Paul Gilding, former executive director of Greenpeace International who injected the note of optimism. He took the view that ultimately the complex economic system will adapt to the environment through markets and regulation. He did note that the changes would be disruptive and compared it to a war effort (as did David Spratt) and gave the example of the unexpected success of the world-wide adoption of solar power as well as the collapsing coal market. He took the view that even reducing emissions to zero (as advocated by Beyond Zero Emissions) was not impossible.

The final speaker was Mark Wakeham, CEO of Environment Victoria who continued the optimism whilst advocating a strategic approach. He talked about the power of energy efficiency and reduced power consumption to create climate change mitigation and the power of individual and community advocacy.

All in all a night of optimism. But much needs to be done.


Climate Change Sceptics:

Bring on the climate change sceptics! It certainly makes the debate more colourful and exciting. It certainly sells more newspapers, ups TV ratings and increases web site eyeballs.

Certainly, the climate change sceptics language, phrases and even their countenance are often quite extraordinary. 

But perhaps they have gone too far.

While these incidents are extraordinary, it does not address the real question at hand. It distracts from it.

So here is my question (I call it the child’s question).

How’s the weather lately? Is it the same? Is it getting better?

Even the anecdotal evidence is there. Every time there is a severe weather event, people affected by it describe it as the worst ever. Ignore the statistical evidence, but anecdotally people notice!

But statistically, why are weather records are tumbling like the Climate Olympics?

It might be just me but I don’t hear any facts from the sceptics. Which leads me to my real point. In the climate change debate, these sceptics in fact fail the basic rules of debate. Good debaters criticise the opposition and then present facts to support their case.

These people don’t. Perhaps they should. Perhaps then we can have a real debate.

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