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The Forum > Article Comments > My choice: none of the above > Comments

My choice: none of the above : Comments

By Bashir Goth, published 3/1/2008

Drawing lessons from history and the nuances of international politics, one cannot but question the honesty of the whole issue of climate change.

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Bashir, you know as well as any that climate-change science is much more advanced now than in decades past and the wealth of expertise and knowledge is getting better with each passing year. Scientists will keep on doing what they do best - science.

What needs to be understood (and your article helps) as we move on and take our collective heads out of the sand ... is that economics and political ideology was, is and will always be, the albatross around our necks in dealing with climate change.

World leaders recognise the problems (evidenced in Bali) as do Big Business. All of us plebs will be sitting on the sidelines (ranting and raging on OLO and the like) expecting, hoping and praying our political and business leaders do the right thing.

The world is a stage, just watch each scene being played out over the next 15 years by the rich and powerful - I for one am not looking forward to it.
Posted by Q&A, Thursday, 3 January 2008 9:33:45 AM
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Q&A - oddly, I *am* partly looking forward to it. It's pretty obvious that there are big corporations out there with a lot to lose from a move towards a less-carbon-intensive economy. While I don't deny that those corporations have, until now, played a critical role in supplying the energy that fuels our standard of living, I for one won't be shedding any tears if many of them are forced to downsize considerably due to any failure to adapt to new realities.

As for the article's claim that global warming politics might be a "tacit strategy to liberate the developed economies from the stranglehold of oil-producing countries", this is certainly not the first time such a suggestion has been put forward, and I've wondered about it myself: I don't question the motives of the scientists, just whether it's what's really driving the politicans that are just now (after 20+ years of scientists' increasingly strenous warnings) beginning to get serious about the need to reduce emissions. However, George Bush has been quite forthright about the need to reduce America's dependency on oil, without any reference to reducing emissions. I agree with him entirely, and that the same holds just as strongly for Australia. Our dependency on Middle Eastern oil is extremely dangerous, in more ways than one.
Further, the other problem with the theory is that main substitutes for oil imported from developing countries are coal-to-liquids and Canadian tar sands, and given the carbon emissions both involve, you would hardly want to be pushing the seriousness of global warming to encourage a move towards such alternatives.

Further, wanting to reduce dependency on foreign oil has nothing to do with "holding a technological edge" over developing nations, purely about ensuring that any inevitable disruptions to supply (whether political or geological) don't throw our economies into chaos and severely threaten our standard of living. It is a sad fact that in Australia the only serious political party that has even recognised this threat is the Greens.
Posted by wizofaus, Thursday, 3 January 2008 10:46:24 AM
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wizofaus,
The oil sands in Venezuala are actually larger than those in Canada. George Dubya has already rather rudely suggested to Canada that thier sands are essential to supply USA needs and the American press gets quite excited occasionally about the political situation in Venezuala. That excitement sounds oil based to me. Dubya and his father have both commented at one time or another that the American standard of living is not negotiable. All the world's grain and sugar production each year could only be converted to meet about 10% of the liquid fuel demand so conversion is largely a waste of time with the poor and hungry the victims.
Contrary to the article oil has not found in very many new areas of the world. I have seen a comment that the about 70% of production is now from fields discovered more than 30 years ago. Any net search will show that USA peek production was about 35 years ago and that the North Sea fields are approaching exhaustion. Production from USA and North Sea is now less than half the past peak.
Posted by Foyle, Thursday, 3 January 2008 11:20:54 AM
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"Drawing lessons from history and the nuances of international politics, one cannot but question the honesty of the whole issue."

Indded - when you see oil barons starting wars and grabbing resources which belong to another nation whilst denying their particular industry is to blame, I too, cannot but question the honesty of the whole issue. Science is in hock to the paymasters and is no longer a source of objective proof - of anything.
Posted by Kúvin, Thursday, 3 January 2008 7:35:06 PM
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This article is sheer paranoid conspiracy-theory rubbish.

"Why did the conscience of academia, politicians and drum-beating lobby groups suddenly awaken when oil gushed from every, hitherto unsuspected, region in Africa, Central Asia and elsewhere?"

Mr Goth fails to realise it isn't an issue of conscience, but of science. It has taken many years to surmount the in-built scepticism of scientists about AGW. It recently reached the point that they took the unprecedented step of telling politicians what needed to be done to prevent disaster. That coincided with the surge that China and India (and Russia and Brazil and others) are experiencing, but is not caused by their surge.

"I assume that the main motive of the global warming campaign is about economics. It is a desperate effort by advanced nations, regardless of the position of the US, to deny the shift of world trade dominance to China, India, Russia and elsewhere."

Mr Goth assumes wrongly. The main motive is concern for those least able to deal with AGW - the poor in general, specifically the poor in developing countries, where the poor are concentrated. These are the people who will be hardest hit by the consequences of global warming. That this is the main motive is supported by the evidence - it was NGOs and scientific organisations that led the push for political action, not governments (who spent the last few decades denying the obvious).

But I can agree with one aspect of this otherwise entirely wrong article: "It is not fair to ask developing nations to atone for the sin committed over the centuries by industrial nations."

Developed nations, having benefited from cheap energy that is only cheap because its long-term costs have not been part of its price, should be the first and most diligent of groups to move towards a carbon-neutral economy. The stance of the US - that international agreements should mean nations moving in lock-step in reducing emissions - is inequitable. Developed nations should be leading the way in converting our economies, not demanding those who missed out on cheap fossil fuels match our efforts.
Posted by fatfingers, Friday, 4 January 2008 12:23:55 AM
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From these sorts of articles, one would get the impression that the notion of climate change is something that was dreamed up a few years ago as some sort of panacea to fix some vaguely defined political or economic problem.

I remember hearing about it back in the seventies - only then it was called "the greenhouse effect" and nobody was even dreaming about a hole in the ozone layer.
Posted by wobbles, Friday, 4 January 2008 1:09:26 AM
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