Pie in the sky
By Stephen Fitzgerald
The greed and stupidity of men
Green house gasses trap energy from the sun and drive global warming. A one degree increase in global temperature equates to a 7% increase in atmospheric water vapour. Increased temperature and water vapour drives extremes in weather. Floods, wild-fires, droughts, hurricanes, ice melt and sea level rises as we are experiencing right now. As the worlds largest coal exporter and major natural gas exporter, in aggregate, Australia is the source of at least 4.6% of total global carbon emissions. The solution is to transition to renewables and sell clean energy to the rest of the world but, we have a major fight on our hands.
As part of the climate-change picture, I have previously mentioned the oil wars ravaging entire nations in the battle for control of fossil fuels worth 10’s of trillions of dollars. This is driven by greed and the selective ignorance of a few oil and war barons plus the governments who pander to them. We need to seriously consider the consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels with a total disregard for the future of civilization and the natural world. The big question is: “How do we stop our dependence on fossil fuels?”
Lets look at the main offenders in relation to burning the fossil fuels that drives global warming. Check the pie chart. At 2% of total green house gas emissions, Germany have just now surpassed their 50% renewable energy target and aim to phase out all coal powered electricity stations by 2028. They are well underway to a sustainable energy future and, if they can do it, what’s wrong with the rest of us? I’m suggesting it’s miss-information by government and big business plus our own ignorance that is accelerating green house gas emissions and driving global warming.
Here’s another shock. The top five fossil fuel burning countries create a staggering 60% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s have a look at where they stand with action on climate change: -
China: Are in the process of setting up a national power grid so every capable citizen can generate and contribute renewable solar and wind energy to a national grid. On the “Climate Action Tracker”, at the moment, they are still considered highly insufficient although, they do plan well ahead and they do see oil running out in the next 50 years and, they do have a contingency plan. What's our plan?
America: A war economy whose government fully supports the fossil fuel industry and not climate action. On the “Climate Action Tracker” is considered critically insufficient. The pinnacle of capitalism. It’s all about money and screw everything and, everyone else. Trump has abolished US environmental rules and is at the centre of the push to control the massive oil deposits in Venezuela.
India: Aims to develop solar energy for power generation with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. On the “Climate Action Tracker” is considered 2°C compatible and on the right track to meet the Paris Agreement.
Russia: Wants to protect itself from climate change with better weather forecasting and not by reducing carbon emissions? On the “Climate Action Tracker” is considered critically insufficient. Clearly obsessed with self interest and not self preservation.
Japan: As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, and host of the 1997 conference which created it, Japan is under treaty obligations to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps related to curbing climate change. On the “Climate Action Tracker” they are still considered highly insufficient but, they acknowledge the problem and are working on it.
That then brings us to dear old environmentally irresponsible Australia. On the “Climate Action Tracker” is considered insufficient. We are shamefully worse than India! What is our LNP government doing to play their part and help save the natural world? The answer is a resounding nothing! They are doing quite the opposite by promoting fossil fuel to exacerbate global warming, cutting subsidies to wind and solar and, pushing a fake argument about renewables.
So, in exasperation, what do we do? What can we do? We can’t trust the government, we can’t trust the fossil fuel and power industry and, we can’t trust the war economy super powers fighting over fossil fuels. The only solution we have, is to trust ourselves.
Collectively, every conscious human on the planet needs to support renewables or, if possible, invest in generating renewable energy and then, feed the surplus into their national power grids and, eventually a global power grid. We did it with communication and the internet and it can be done with electricity supply.
You see, there is hope but, we can’t rely on governments or big business. We must do it ourselves and only we can save us. At the moment Australia runs on 17% renewable energy. Start generating your own power and sell the surplus to the national grid. If every capable Australian supports alternate energy we can reduce demand for fossil fuel but, we need to act together and quickly.
Individually, we can’t change the governments, we can’t stop the murderous oil war machine and we can’t shut the door on fossil fuel conglomerates but, collectively and with a collective consciousness, we can work around them and reduce demand for fossil fuel. It’s people power! Support alternate clean energy, put up those solar panels and wind turbines, feed electricity into the grid, elect a pro climate action government and, fight for the future.
By making individual choices that are environmentally sustainable, we can persuade politicians and companies of the desire for urgent action to protect the world for future generations.
Comments (Now Closed)
SteveFitz January 29, 2019 at 9:23 am
Thanks Rosemary for leading the way - You would need to be in a coma or isolation tank not to be aware of the extremes in weather brought on by global warming. Our politicians know about it and big business are fully aware of the consequences of ignoring action on climate change but, in Australia, it’s business as usual?
As pointed out, the countries in climate change denial are the countries with a huge vested interest in the fossil fuel that drives global warming. Down the track, these countries will be sanctioned by the rest of the world to force action on climate change. Australia generates 75% of its electricity by burning coal and coal is Australia’s largest export. Australia is right up there with global climate change deniers like Russia and America and, we need to change.
We need to grasp the enormity of our problem. We are all threatened if we don’t act to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. For starters, collectively, we can join the global movement to install climate action governments. Desperately, we need a progressive government that can guide Australia to a renewable energy future. To force that process, individually, we need to back alternate energy by investing in alternate energy. Locally and globally we need to remove the demand for fossil fuel.
SteveFitz January 29, 2019 at 10:26 am
They are big ideas Kaye Lee and that’s exactly what we need. Big ideas. Helvityni, you are right…
Australia does have all the sun. We are a vast flat sunlit land ideally suited to capture solar energy. We now have the capacity to battery store and on sell that solar power or, feed it directly into a global energy grid. Australia needs to aim for a 500% renewable energy future to accommodate our own energy needs plus, we can on sell the surplus energy, to the rest of the world, to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel and Australian coal.
By doing this, Australia can generate more income from selling clean energy than selling coal and, in the process, go some way towards avoiding catastrophic climate change.
Step 1: Change to a progressive government. Step 2: Embrace alternate clean energy for all of Australia. Step 3: Sell clean energy, not coal, to the rest of the world.
SteveFitz January 29, 2019 at 11:12 am
Kaye Lee – Something you are really good at is keeping us informed of the larger picture. That puts us in a position to make informed decisions on the best path for the future. Hydrogen, hydro, solar and wind are important parts of the future clean energy mix. As part of the bigger picture we also need to fully understand where Australia is positioned right now so we can formulate a plan for the future: –
AUSTRALIA – WORLD’S LARGEST COAL EXPORTER
While Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions represent some 1.3% of the global total, its global carbon footprint – the total amount of carbon it pushes out into the global economy – is much bigger.
Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter. By adding emissions from exported coal to our domestic emissions, Australia’s carbon footprint trebles. Its coal exports alone currently contribute at least another 3.3% of global emissions.
In aggregate, therefore, Australia is at present the source of at least 4.6% of total global emissions. That’s without considering natural gas exports.
This alternative viewpoint underscores the importance of Greenpeace’s recent claim that proposed “mega coal mines” in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, producing for export, would be responsible for 705 million tonnes of CO2 per year and would turn that region alone into the world’s seventh largest contributor of emissions.
GOOD REASONS FOR THIS LARGER PERSPECTIVE
Why take this alternative view? First, such a re-framing makes visible a range of hidden but significant national responsibilities for climate change. It is a more honest calibration of the mitigation/adaptation responsibilities and burdens of specific states. Countries like Australia benefit economically from the fossil fuel trade – and from fuelling climate change – without acknowledging that benefit or the costs.
Second, it undermines already spurious claims that Australia’s contribution to the problem of climate change is trivial. When its current domestic carbon dioxide emissions and its exported CO2 emissions are combined, Australia ranks as the planet’s 5th largest emitter of CO2 – after China, the USA, India and the Russian Federation. Australia with a population of 25 million is responsible, directly and indirectly, for over 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year – more than Germany’s emissions (population 82 million) and the UK’s emissions (population 62 million) combined.
If planned and projected increases in Australian coal and gas exports are realised, our carbon footprint will more than double again over the coming decades. By 2030, Australia would be directly and indirectly responsible for over 2 billion tonnes of exported ‘green house gas’ emissions per year.
Still, should we reduce our coal exports in a global system geared to direct-emitters’ responsibility?
Consider the principle of harm avoidance. This is a widely recognised principle, including under international law. It has been enshrined in the Stockholm Convention 1972 and the Rio Declaration of 1992.
These international declarations – to which Australia is a signatory – state that parties “have the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States”. Trade in injurious substances flies in the face of the harm avoidance principle.
By analogy, think of how most legal systems view sellers of asbestos or heroin, or of the growing reaction to the sale of tobacco. In these cases, we are no longer prepared to buy the argument that harm is a case of “buyer beware”. Instead, we ascribe responsibility for trade in a harmful substance substantially (in the case of heroin or asbestos) or significantly (in the case of cigarette producers) to their predatory traders.
Leaving the responsibility for mitigation to others involves an abrogation of ethical responsibility to the market and to the atomised consumer.
The second argument is purely pragmatic. The greater our dependency on a coal/gas export economy, the greater the economic distortions and social perils for Australia in the longer term. Australia’s export energy boom is generating an economy unsustainably dependent on the returns of that sector.
If the end to the fossil energy boom is abrupt, the trauma to Australia’s economy will be significant. How will we provide regional structural adjustment assistance in the Hunter Valley and Bowen Basin, especially if this adjustment trauma is accompanied by increasing demands for climate adaptation and disaster relief funding?
KILLING THE GOOSE?
It must seem crazy-brave to propose a tax on coal exports given falling coal prices and political anxiety about the power of the mining industry. It must seem crazier still to propose an immediate moratorium on further expansion and to plan for the sector to be wound back. But in each case, that is what Labor should do.
Labor first should immediately freeze Australia’s expanding global carbon footprint by capping export volumes.
Second, it should simultaneously establish a carbon fund to provide for longer term structural adjustment costs domestically and for investment in energy alternatives in developing nations currently importing our fuels.
Even a modest levy of $2 per tonne of exported coal would now net almost $800 million per year. More than this, though, Australia needs a national energy strategy based on this shift in perspective. It involves reconfiguring our understanding of Australia’s very substantial international role in the climate game and winding back our fossil fuel export sector within a decade.
Ultimately change will be forced upon us, whether or not we like it, or are prepared. Even the most conservative IPCC and IEA estimates suggest that global fossil fuel use will need to contract substantially by 2050 if we are to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Australia itself has adopted an emissions mitigation policy of -80% by 2050. This is less than 38 years away.
Major importers are already moving to cap and reduce their coal consumption. Our export carbon sector is clearly unsustainable if the rest of the world intends to cut fossil fuel use dramatically.
A coherent energy-climate policy would guide a rapid, planned scale-down in coal production. The chaotic alternative – the one we have now – will continue to build our coal export sector and then allow market and climate forces to combine in a perfect economic storm and potentially destroy Australia economically.
Our current, short sighted, LNP government is driving Australia towards destruction. As pointed out already, we the people need to force the transition to renewables and to save our economy we need to generate and start selling clean energy to the rest of the world, as we phase out coal exports.
SteveFitz January 30, 2019 at 11:16 am
Yes Diannaart, it is a conundrum and it does not get easier.
CAN WE QUIT COAL IN TIME?
IPCC warns world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe. The IPCC issued its bleakest report yet this week, saying that without drastic changes, the world doesn’t have a hope of avoiding uncontrollable climate change.
Unless emissions are halved within 12 years and virtually eliminated by 2050, temperature increases will likely exceed 2 degrees Celsius. Beyond 2 degrees, scientists predict temperature increases may spiral as the climate breaches a series of unique tipping points, such as reflective sea ice loss and the methane releasing melting of the vast global expanses of permafrost.
The top culprit is fossil fuels, and the instructions to Australia and the rest of the world are clear: Quit coal by 2050. Specifically, the report’s authors say that coal usage needs to drop to between 0 and 2 per cent of existing levels.
At the moment, the countries responsible for the bulk of the world’s emissions are scaling down their reliance on coal, but developing countries in South-East Asia are moving in the exact opposite direction, even going so far as to build new coal-fired power plants with the help of foreign finance. If they’re all built, Australian coal is likely to be used to keep those generators running for 50 to 70 years into the future. You don't have to be too bright to realise that it would be better to produce and sell clean energy to these same countries, rather than coal.
AUSTRALIA’S COAL HABIT
Much has been written about Australia’s love affair with coal. The bulk of Australia’s coal is mined in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with the most polluting coal — also known as brown coal — coming predominantly from Victoria.
Australia has more than 21 coal-fired power stations in operation, and still relies heavily on coal for electricity. There are no new coal-fired power stations currently being built in Australia, but Energy Market Analyst Tim Buckley has told The Signal, 80 per cent of Australia’s coal is exported.
He said he believes “it’s entirely possible, [but] it’s entirely improbable” that Australia will manage to wean itself off coal by 2050, if the current policy settings remain. The Government’s own figures, released two weeks ago, reveal Australia’s emissions are currently rising.
WHO’S QUITTING COAL
The tipping point’s been reached: the cold, hard numbers show that new renewable energy is supplying cheaper electricity than new coal-fired power plants could and, will continue do so, writes Stephen Long.
In responding to the IPCC report, Scott Morrison has been quick to point out that Australia’s emissions are only a fraction of the world’s overall carbon output, coming in between 1 and 2 per cent. That does not include our monumentally huge coal and gas exports that takes the fugure to above 5%.
By contrast, the US, China, Japan, and India are the world’s biggest emitters. Tim Buckley said Japan has been slow to act, but has had a recent change of heart. “Japan is definitely pivoting. They’ve gone from being a world laggard — Japan is going in the other direction”. China and India on the other hand, have been investing heavily in renewables.
WHAT HAPPENS IF CHINA DRIVES THE WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO COAL.
“China is half the world’s coal production, half the world’s coal consumption — it’s the biggest importer of coal, and for the last five years the Chinese central leadership has been on an absolute mission to decarbonise their economy”.
“India is really exciting. Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi was elected on a solar platform. “They are saying that 40 per cent of their electricity generation capacity by 2027 will be renewable energy, up from maybe 10 per cent three years ago, so it’s just a huge transformation.”
US President Donald Trump has expressed enthusiasm for coal, and long threatened to pull America out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But Tim Buckley said the transformation set in motion during the Obama years was significant. “Coal went from being 50 per cent of US electricity system a decade ago, but it hit a record low last year of 30 per cent and it’s gone even lower this year”.
Of Australia’s reliance on coal as an export, he said: “We can turn the ship around. Our biggest customers are turning the ships around.”
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE DOUBLING DOWN
Not every country is bailing out of coal. “South-East Asia is still on a coal-fired power station expansion program, that’s really the last bastion of growth”.
Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are all planning to build new power plants. Tim Buckley said if all those plans come to pass, the rest of the world’s cuts won’t be enough to compensate for that increase. “Therefore we have to assume that the world is going to go off the climate cliff.
“So if Asia goes and replicates the same sort of industrialization that Australia, America, Europe and China have all done, we all go off the cliff”. “We are going to have a climate catastrophe if Asia continues to get foreign subsidies finance to build these coal plants, because once you build a coal plant, you’re locking in 50 years of coal burning.
HOW TO GET COAL UNDER CONTROL
These proposed power plants will cost $2 to $3 billion dollars each to build, and require government subsidies. The capital subsidies supporting those planned projects are coming primarily from Japan, South Korea and China. If South Korea and Japan stop providing those subsidies, China is now the last man standing. If China moves, and pulls the subsidies, there is no way new coal plants will be built in South-East Asia, and those countries will need to pivot to renewables.”
There’s a lot more in the air than greenhouse gasses. In a big way, we can do our bit by backing a climate action government and in a small way, by investing in renewables to reduce the demand for coal.
SteveFitz January 31, 2019 at 10:18 am
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it.
Diannaart – We did start 20 to 30 years ago but basically, climate action advise was ignored by our leaders and those in power. With extremes in weather, we are now seeing the outcome of their self serving ignorance and inaction that threatens all of us.
So, 27 years after the first serious warnings about climate change, our leaders are still floundering and, driving us towards an uncertain future. What do we have: –
(1) Conflict & war for control of oil and natural gas by war economy superpowers resulting in the destruction of entire nations and the death and displacement of millions of innocent people.
(2) Australia is dependent on coal to generate 75% of our electricity and with government support we have fallen into the trap of coal being our largest export. Coal that has the potential to fuel the expansion of coal power stations throughout South East Asia and radically increase global green house gas emissions.
(3) The Australian LNP government is in climate change denial to protect the coal and fossil fuel industry. Look at the cost to Australia as a result of government inaction on climate change. Extreme weather events including unprecedented cyclones, droughts, wild-fires, heatwaves, and flooding have already cost Australia billions of dollars and lives. Also the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and Murray Darling Basin is attributed to global warming.
(4) The rich and powerful are self serving, driven by greed and care nothing about society or the immeasurable cost to humanity of catastrophic climate change. The LNP government pander to the rich and powerful to attract election funds and screw the rest of us.
(5) Greenhouse gasses, from burning fossil fuel, are driving global warming and climate change as we are now seeing in real time. It’s a major wake-up call to those in power but they still don’t listen and they are still not acting to protect our future. What can we do… (a) Install a progressive pro climate action government to promote the transition to a renewable energy future. (b) Remove the demand for fossil fuel by investing heavily in renewable clean energy.
SteveFitz February 4, 2019 at 11:54 am
Venezuela has the largest conventional oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere. In addition Venezuela has non-conventional oil deposits (extra-heavy crude oil, bitumen and tar sands) approximately equal to the world’s reserves of conventional oil. Hence the conflict and crisis with global superpowers vying for control.
Just like the middle east, the conflict in Venezuela is all about control of oil and natural gas reserves. We are once again seeing the total collapse of entire nations in the fight for rapidly depleting natural resources.
This period in history will be remembered as the “Oil Wars”. Future students will question the pathetic stupidity of out leaders and those in power. We are murdering each other for a resource that when burned to generate power will drive catastrophic climate change with the potential to destroy the natural world and subsequently human civilisation.
We need to get serious about transitioning away from fossil fuel and, the only way I can see that happening is to reduce demand for fossil fuel. Any clean energy alternative needs to be pursued.
SteveFitz February 5, 2019 at 8:49 am
@ Rapideffects – I’m not one to sit on my hands or argue in the negative. We have a problem ET and we need a clear vision of those problems to effectively search for solutions. Throwing our hands in the air in despair solves nothing. We can make an effort or we can walk to the edge of the cliff and ponder our future, as we gaze long and hard into the abyss.
According to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, global oil reserves at the end of 2012 were 1.7 trillion barrels. Given that the world consumes about 86 million barrels of crude oil per day, it would be easy to conclude we'll run out of oil in 55 years. In 2019 we are consuming 101 million barrels of crude oil per day. With an exponential increase in demand for oil, it's possible we will run out in less than 40 years.
O.K. now lets visualize a time when there is no oil or fossil fuel left. We have used it all up. We will be forced to embrace alternate energy or perish as a civilisation. Instead of waiting for that fateful day, lets fast track and embrace alternate energy right now. Lets have a vision for the future that preserves the natural world. A world we can’t survive without. The transition to renewables is going to happen anyway, lets just get on with it, and do it a lot quicker.
First step – Phase out the biggest greenhouse gas emitter being coal. We have the technology right now – It’s happening all around us. Electric transport can be recharged with alternate clean energy. Develop and implement the technology to replace our dependence on oil, natural gas and coal.
The greatest challenge mankind faces is greed, ignorance, stupidity and inaction. We build cities that span continents, we build bridges that span oceans and we send spaceships to the stars. Together we can do this but first we need to remove what stands in the way. My vision is for the future and it’s a long way beyond where the self interest climate change deniers and the wet blanket brigade are standing right now.
Humans who lapse into despair quickly perish. We need ideals and aspirations and a vision for the future to flourish. So, do we act on climate change or don’t we?
SteveFitz February 5, 2019 at 1:21 pm
Thanks Terrence – If we proceed along our merry path and do basically bugger all about global warming, at some point in the not so distant future, we will be searching for a hostile planet to inhabit. Well, look no further, we will be standing on it.
SteveFitz February 7, 2019 at 7:37 am
@ Rapideffects – We have the science forecasting devastating outcomes if we fail to take action on climate change. We have a pathway to transition to renewable energy. Clearly, the greatest obstacle standing in the way of a clean energy future is fossil fuel vested interests and ignorance.
SteveFitz February 7, 2019 at 7:52 am
The dead-pans among us can sit at the end of the bar and argue why we should do nothing about global warming while the rest of us get on with transitioning to renewable energy: – Renewables reach highest share of Australia’s power in 40 years
SteveFitz February 8, 2019 at 8:09 am
@ Rapideffects – O.K. Lets continue down the pathway you suggest and do nothing about reducing green house gas emissions. Let’s do nothing about global warming and dump renewables. Give us your plan for humanity. Give us your vision for the future for our grand-children and beyond. Lets consume all the fossil fuel on the planet and then what?
Try to take a small step into the not so distant future. How do you suggest we drive civilisation in your new world of catastrophic climate change and 60 metre sea level rises? “Lets consume all the fossil fuel on the planet and then what?”
SteveFitz February 8, 2019 at 12:35 pm
People with a bit of vision drive civilization forward. Electric lamps to light the streets of London instead of whale blubber, telegraph instead of courier pigeons, printing press instead of word of mouth, mechanized looms to clothe the masses and cars replaced horses with huge objection. Hydrogen power will drive our planes, ships and trucks and, solar energy will replace fossil fuels also, as we are seeing, with huge objection.
It’s called progress and, since our advances in technology are being developed at exponential speed there’s nothing to stop the transition to renewable except, as history tells us, people who naturally cling to the status quo or have a vested interest. Jump on board and be dragged kicking and screaming into the future of unlimited clean energy and in the process do your bit to help.
Every major change for humanity has had the same human obstacles. The difference now is the urgency and the devastating outcome if we do nothing about global warming and climate change.
SteveFitz February 9, 2019 at 9:28 am
Rapideffect Google: Hydrogen powered planes, boats, trucks, transport etc for 5 million results. And then check out Labor’s hydrogen plan:
Hydrogen power is in development just like every other advance in technology was once in development. At this point though, it’s not the point so, lets keep it simple and push one thing at a time. Step one: Phase out coal to be replaced with unlimited clean energy captured from the sun, wind and hydro.
Thanks Terence – I think we hit on this a while back and it’s a great read: https://theaimn.com/population-its-the-environment-stupid/
SteveFitz February 10, 2019 at 9:29 am
Terence – It’s all true and it’s progress. The carbon capture article refers to efforts by ExxonMobil. BHP also accepts the IPCC assessment of climate and, they are also pursuing carbon capture and storage technology. It’s a big step when the fossil fuel giants are looking to protect their industry by stripping CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere. This then opens the door to sell their products as “Carbon Neutral” and stay in the market.
Most of the top scientists agree we also need a carbon capture program to cap global atmosphere CO2 concentration to stabilise the weather. Necessity is the mother of invention and, so is profit. If carbon capture is cheaper per tonne than carbon tax, the fossil fuel giants may just come up with the technology to manage global temperature. It’s a race against time to save their industry and they know it.
Australia produces about 500 million tonnes of coal per year for domestic use and export. Carbon tax at $23.00 per tonne equates to $11.5 billion tax or, investment in carbon capture and storage technology per year. Things are moving forward but we still need a climate action government.
SteveFitz February 10, 2019 at 1:01 pm
Thanks David – That’s good information about global reserves of fossil fuel and what we are up against. If we burn it all, we have 40 years of oil left, 69 years of natural gas left and 150 years of coal left. All the reserves of oil and natural gas will be gone in less than one lifetime. That explains the global conflicts raging for control of diminishing fuel reserves. That though doesn't consider the consequences if we burn it all.
We are in a position to phase out coal right now and the reserves of oil and gas are limited but, if burnt, are sufficient to drive us towards catastrophic climate change. This reinforces the urgency and the need for a pro climate action government and the need to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. It's crunch time - We are at a cross-road for humanity.
SteveFitz February 13, 2019 at 12:35 pm
97% of scientists and 70% of the rest of us believe climate change is real and happening as a result of human activity. Governments in climate change denial govern for the financial elite, vested interests and themselves. It’s a government that runs on lies and deceit and that, is proof that they don’t govern for the people who elected them.
Don’t be distracted by the LNP propaganda, stay focused. As long as the LNP government are in climate change denial you are being lied to and, if they lie about the greatest challenge to ever face mankind, if they lie about something that threatens our future, they will lie to you about everything. Are these the people we want running our country?
SteveFitz February 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm
One of the Institute of Public Affair’s greatest successes has been to stitch climate denialism into the very fabric of the conservative LNP government political identity. Basically, this is to protect the fossil fuel industry so, it’s a perpetrated lie driven by greed.
We have fossil fuel vested interests, includes many global governments, in climate change denial, also driven by greed. We see war economies fighting for control of diminishing oil and natural gas reserves and a massive global demand for coal, the single largest green house gas producer threatening the natural environment.
We are talking about the systems that underlie the capacity of human life on the planet. Climate change throws a shadow over the question of our lives, the lives of children and the possibility of life at all. Now we know that with the twin forces of global warming and biosphere destruction, we can actually break down the system sustaining human life.
We see two responses, that of the right, climate deniers and trivialists. Their politics is no longer a politics, if by that we mean a discourse on the matters of living together. Those on the right, because their politics has died, have decided to ally themselves with death and energise themselves by rejecting moral principals in the belief that life, other then their own, is worthless.
The other response offered is one of hope and the various techniques that radical and reform movements have always used to tackle major challenges. “Eyes on the prize”, “one step at a time” and “hope for the future”. Hope has been a political commodity of great demand for the past decade or more. Hope is the fuel that drives such juggernauts.
Humanity, as a species grounded in nature, will, in this century, pass through the narrow corridor of its essence and, our civilization and survival hangs in the balance. Should we some how avoid catastrophe, the best we can hope for is a world that has been blasted out of recognition. Even some sort of super-rapid global awakening of consciousness to collectively take action on climate change would see us heading towards 2-3 degrees of warming. This equates to extremes in weather, devastating sea level rises, the collapse of natural habitats and mass extinctions.
Needing global and local solutions, twinned together, we remain imprisoned within a system of global nation-states, whose pursuit of their individual interests is lethal to collective interest. We need leaders capable of putting the global catastrophe on a real political footing.
Instead, we have on one side Trump, Bolsonaro, Morrison and others, framing the fate of our planet in political culture-war terms; on the other, the U.S. Democrats, the Chinese leadership and others, sufficiently rational to recognise the climate crisis but unwilling to propose or initiate real action that would disadvantage their states.
So the best, realistic hope for a global approach to the global catastrophe is, say, two to four decades away. In those years, while habitats will be irreversibly destroyed, thousands of species, including many of the animals we think of as part of the “human garden”, will disappear, ocean life could be taken to the brink and beyond, zones of super heat will be created, disrupting food and water supplies.
Political disruption and wars, most likely a recognizable series of conflicts that can be called the oil wars or third world war will escalate. With the LNP adding fuel to the fire by allocating $200 billion to turn Australia into a war economy. The world we save will be a blighted, diminished place. For the planet our generation inherited, the catastrophe is already well under way.
Fighting against human and world extinction demands an acceptance of that, that one look this in the eye, and acknowledge that, in effect, it is already happening. Being able to respond to news stories such as unprecedented extreme weather events, the collapse of insect systems, irreversible Antarctic ice melt and not simply swipe the screen, can only be done by accepting the radical truth that these stories tell us.
What we do with that is now up to us. But, the first and most important political act is looking the world in the eye, as it is and will be, without flinching, and starting from there. A step to the conservative right is a step towards continued fossil fuel consumption, global conflict and perpetual war. A step to the progressive left is a step towards the transition to renewable energy and hope for the future.
We are still the lucky generation. We have the benefit of mans amazing advances in technology and we still have a beautiful natural environment to revel in. Life is for the living… I think we need to enjoy what we have while we have it and try to save what we can for future generations.
Be remembered, by your grand-children, as a responsible human being who made an effort to try to protect their future.
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