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The Forum > Article Comments > Climate security, energy security > Comments

Climate security, energy security : Comments

By Jonathan J. Ariel, published 28/7/2008

Imagine focusing on energy security and reaping the harvest of climate security as a by product in the process.

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If we can get through the next 20 years it will be a miracle. By that time Australia will have 30 million people, petrol will be a distant memory, the North Pole will be permanent open water, high tides will lap coastal suburbs and vast swathes of prime farmland will be semi-desert. But people worry about 5c a litre on petrol in 2008. I'd like some alternative scenarios from those who say that starting carbon reductions in 2010 is indecent haste. If anything saves us it may not be officialdom so much as the price of everything getting out of hand. This means we may have to forego some immediate consumption to prepare for the future; for example higher power bills to fund clean electricity. Then again we may just leave it too late.
Posted by Taswegian, Monday, 28 July 2008 9:06:40 AM
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Jeez Taswegian, we will get through the next twenty years without the aid of miracles. Things will be different, but we will get there.

If climate is your main concern, know that our ancestors have lived through climate changes which make the worst case ones in the current scenarios look pretty tame.

Climate change has always occurred, always will.
Posted by miner, Monday, 28 July 2008 9:31:45 AM
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miner, or should that read minor we near a point in Earth's history where in the next 20 years will could reach the point of on return if nothing is done to escape this situation. Governments State and Federal should not be waiting for a future meeting to act. We should have heavily subsidized solar home power units, be using geothermal and hydro power as a priority. There are many ways governments can help this situation not least by "green powering" their many buildings, it's time to act. I don't wish to join the "Mad Max" club in forty years, I have children for whom I desire a life much as my own.
Posted by SHONGA, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:12:04 AM
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The only thing we can realistically do in Australia is curb the population increase in order to soften the demand for energy and the crippling effect of numbers on the environment.

Demographer Prof. Bob Birell says that there is no way that carbon emissions can be reduced to the level claimed by the Rudd Labor Government if Australiaís population continues to grow. The population forecast of 31.6 million by 2050 will produce emissions four times greater than that eraís hoped for reductions.

The Rudd Government has ignored the populationís influence on climate and environment. Senator Wong, when roused by Prof. Birellís comment, weakly replied that population was being taken into account, and the matter would be discussed when the Governmentís final plan was released.

Huh! If, as these people claim, climate change is down to human cause, population should have been the very first thing mentioned!
Posted by Mr. Right, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:25:43 AM
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Coal is 19th Century technology. All of the basic thermodynamic principles were discovered and understood back then. Subsequent refinements were made possible by more sophisticated metallurgy and finer engineering tolerances. The impetus for this did not come from love of science alone, nor from any natural human desire to make civilisation more efficient. It happened because the easiest high-quality coal deposits were used up first.

Oil is early 20th Century technology. All of the above applies to oil. Yet we are plodding down that same old, same old pathway.

Nuclear power is mid-20th Century technology - and guess what! Yes folks, we just can't seem to wake up from this horrible nightmare. The same old familiar crumbly pathway to a hollowed-out planet beckons. I wouldn't want to be a Frenchman when all those reactors "come of age", as the more mature ones are now doing in Britain.

I blame it all on reticulated electricity. Even as appliances have become cleverer, consumers have become sillier. They are so spaced-out, they even believe that the Stock Exchange is really real. Voon!

Not to worry. When humans lost the opportunity to do some really useful work, they became consumers. As the situation worsened, many humans were forced to become CONSULTANTS. Consultants have now risen in the ranks to the highest echelons of political and corporate power. My mate Kev seems to be one. Peter Garrett is obviously a bumbling new recruit. Brendan? Ah well, he was just born that way.

I have done a bit of consulting work myself over the years. This is how it works:

- I take your watch. Then I tell you the time. Then I charge you for it -

I wonder what the next evolutionary step in our wonderful species will be?

- see you in the soup.... with Soylent croutons -
Posted by Chris Shaw, Carisbrook 3464, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:17:14 PM
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Chris,
I understand your reasoning but am uncomfortable with a number of underlying assumptions to your piece.
1. That a fair/accurate assessment of Howardís performance is by comparing figures with OECD.
2. That Countries should be corparatised and Governments merely executive managers.
3. They ignore world wide philosophical swings in economical reasoning.
4. They ignore unique foreign policy issues.
5. Differences in the structural basis of economies

OECD figures show outcomes not specific circumstances that created them. A booming mining sector (a comparatively low employment sector) can cover a multitude of sins. Especially when it comes to high technologies sectors of many of the European countries.

There are scales of economy that make services delivery cheaper in many of those same compact countries this would in effect mean that their 10% of GDP would go further than our 10% GDP. The comparison is moot if youíre in a rural centre and need urgent specialist medical care. Simply put the structural differences in these economies make comparisons and a measure of government competence dubious.

The concern is that good business is all about profit, this financial year and benefits management and a minority (shareholders). Conversely Governmentsí focus should be longer, more strategic and whole population oriented.

Business will always go where production costs are cheapest in a developed country the answer must be in Technological advancement. We canít compete with 3rd world labour costs. Attracting Sunrise as opposed to life support for Sunset industries. In the latter the ultimate winner is the opportunistic businesses not the people.

Foreign policy has long term effects including economically on the country therefore must be part of the competence equation.
OECD numbers in this perspective are so generalized/qualified that they are little more than feel good comparisons.Short term measurement in this situation isnít a realistic assessment of the long-term health of an economy.

Party politics doesnít necessarily mean the most competent come to power.
To me Howard Government was a 3nd stringer I doubt that Rudd will ultimately be any more than a style change.
Posted by examinator, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:22:31 PM
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