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The Forum > Article Comments > After the climate backflip, what next? > Comments

After the climate backflip, what next? : Comments

By Chris Harries, published 13/11/2006

Climate change - there has been a painstakingly long lag time between postulation, scientific proof, political acceptance, then corrective political action.

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I don't disagree with the thrust of the argument until we get to here:

"People, by the droves, are cottoning on that they can live far happier, more convivial and healthier lives, living comfortably with a much leaner footprint".

My perception is that people want the government to 'do something' but few individuals want to sacrifice their lifestyle. Many will apparently happlily pay, in these wealthy times, a few bucks more for 'green electricity' to the extent that such exists other than when the sun shines or the winds blows but who is about to give up their computer, air conditioner or washing machine to reduce their energy foot print. Yes, we all 'should' try to do 'someting' but in the mean time lets take the next 50 years offered to restructure where necessary for the influence of climate change. The internet has only been around, en-mass, for about a dozen years and we seemed to have had no trouble accepting it's influence.
Posted by PeterJH, Monday, 13 November 2006 10:09:46 AM
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Spot on, Chris Harris. Its great to see the historical perspective coming in to this discussion. yes, how the tobacco industry ruthlessly conned the world. The asbestos industry did likewise.
Also great to take the perspective of the present day communications technology. Bush/Howard and their backers will not be able quite as easily to con the world on climate change.
Or will they? Im just a bit worried that our absolute genius of rat-cunning, John Howard, might be able to get away with conning and bribing Australia into the whole gamut of the nuclear industry.
For George Bush to solve the US Yucca nuclear waste problem, for Howard and John White of Australian Nuclear Fuel Leasing to bribe us all to take international wastes, - in this noble cause, Howard is sure to do all sorts of pretty green things even sign Kyoto. Christina Macpherson www.antinuclearaustralia.com
Posted by ChristinaMac, Monday, 13 November 2006 10:26:02 AM
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Chris Harries has made a few claims that are really not substantiated. Sure, the media have swallowed the line portraid by Stern amd by Al Gore, but there are many scientists who have significant doubts about the doom and gloom being pedelled by people such as Chris. Of course if you followed the advice of the greens we would be living in poverty in caves.

The only thing that I have heard that is sensible, in my view, has been the contribution of Rupert Murdoch who has virtually said that we don't really know whether recent warming has been caused by human activity, but nevertheless it would be sensible to improve technology to reduce CO2 emissions. I think we can all live with that and work toward it.
Posted by Sniggid, Monday, 13 November 2006 10:26:13 AM
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Peter JH

You responded to "People, by the droves, are cottoning on that they can live far happier, more convivial and healthier lives, living comfortably with a much leaner footprint". with your perception "that people want the government to 'do something' but few individuals want to sacrifice their lifestyle.

I agree with your perception, all those Harvey Norman customers and frequent flyer point collectors will take a long time to turn. If they think of these matters at all (of which I doubt) I imagine them to feel they are giving up so much for so little gain - unaware of the calamaties that can befall humanity over the longer term if there is no change.

However I am not sure that those that Chris Harries wrote of are the same people you observe. I agree with him that there are many leaders who are transitioning to new habits. While their number is too few right now to make a material difference to the climate, their experimentation, learning and solutions provide example from which followers too can learn and build their own confidence.

On another matter, I would add to Harries' assessment of "unbridled consumption can no longer go along merrily as it has been in the past." It is also inevitable that we cannot sustain inexorable population growth, regardless of living standards. Eventually their will be stabilisation and reduction to ecologically sustainable human population levels. It is my belief that, regardless of climate change, the energy decline at the other side of peak-oil/gas will bring that about - albeit with great discomfort.

Greenlight
Posted by Greenlight, Monday, 13 November 2006 10:34:06 AM
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What next?

The Carbon tax!

But will that change the ethics of a Corporate Polluter to update its technologies and infrastructure?

Or just will the Carbon tax be another tax the consumers will be offloaded with, in light of their massive profits?

Competition is required with more research and trials into natural energies, to turn up the pace, on those who continue to ignore the warning signals.

Australia has an abundance of solar energy.

Perhaps all executives should spend a week in one of the countries effected by global warming where the seas are reclaiming land.
Posted by Suebdootwo, Monday, 13 November 2006 11:34:48 AM
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If John Howard wants to pursue technological fixes to climate change, then we should be encouraging him. There's certainly a place for new pollution-reducing technology, and if carbon geosequestration can work, then great! But as the article points out, this is a long range solution (speculative technology, not yet proved), and we need action now.

And if we're talking about tech solutions, how about funding increased research into energy sources that wouldn't need geosequestration - like more efficient solar power?

Maybe the government should be running public campaigns to encourage people to reduce their impact on the environment. It's worked for water usage in various parts of the country - why not expand it a bit to take in greenhouse gas emissions? As Peter JH and Greenlight have pointed out, people don't seem to be in a real hurry to change their lifestyles, so a bit of leadership from the top in this regard couldn't hurt.
Posted by J-guy, Monday, 13 November 2006 1:12:35 PM
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