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waiting for a techno fix on Greenhouse « Previous | |Next »
September 23, 2006

The Howard Govenment looks increasingly isolated on global warming. It is being backed into a corner by events and it is increasingly being portrayed as struggling to cope with the external threat of global warming It is assumed by the Government that Australia still is the Lucky Country; that somehow the impact of climate change will bypass Australia; and it is not possible to wean the economy off its dependance on coal ands fossil fuels.

GlobalWarmingVH.jpg
Leahy, Virgin goes green

The standard Howard Government line is glum: even mild restrictions on greenhouse gases will be economically crippling. So we have to say no to strong regulations and wait for technology to come to the rescue in the next 20 years to help slow the rate of greenhouse -gas buildup. Regulations don't work. Nor do market based solutions---profit incentives to reduce pollution. It is not considered possible for corporations to be carbon neutral (add no new carbon to the atmosphere) or that entrepreneurs can make money by reducing greenhouse gases.

The fossil fuel industry provides corporate funding of lobby groups who deny that manmade climate change is taking place. These groups run a consistent message: that the science is contradictory, the scientists are split, most practice junk science environmentalists are charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy for no good reason. The aim of the professional denial industry is to create the impression of doubt about climate change; doubt undermines the scientific consensus on greenhouse gases.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:20 AM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

We just might have a technofix, although it may not please oil industry folks.

Unfortunately, the entire conversation on global warming is missing a critical element, and that is the possibility of viable fusion alternatives which are completely neglected in the current political landscape.

Fusion is closer than most people think, and yet it's neglected.

The Focus Fusion Society - http://focusfusion.org/ - is dedicated to developing fusion energy, ASAP, by advocating a systematic approach to exploring fusion alternatives, and supporting that research itself for the focus fusion approach.

We're not talking about cold fusion or fission. We're not talking about conventional tokamak fusion (the ITER project) - which isn't expected to work for another 50 years. (Conventional vs. Focus Fusion) - and yet all US research money in fusion, limited as it is, goes into the one ITER project only. A grossly ineffective strategy, like funding one lone hospital program to find a cure for cancer.

Fusion alternatives don't register at all with the general public, politicians, etc. We want to change this. We want people to demand their fusion. We want to see a "fusion race". We've been lobbying the X-prize foundation to put up a "Fusion X-Prize" and so forth.

Help us advocate for this issue. We need a JFK type to show some real leadership and put fusion out there as the big hairy goal of this generation. The other solutions are so inadequate and contentious. This one is the best with the best potential to boost the economy.

Seriously. Fusion. Why are we waiting?

That the Coalition is doing the fossil fuel industry's bidding is unsurprising, but I am perplexed by the silence from the one group that could swing this government into genuinely acting on greenhouse, the farm sector.

Australian farmers will be global warming's biggest loosers, they possibly already are, but there's been hardly a wimper from them as their farms turn to dust....again.

Ian,
I am suprised that the investtment funds aren't into funding startups that help to generate new alternative-energy infrastructure in Australia. Wouldn't this create jobs and income? I would have thought that green energy would be a big economic opportunity in the 21st century.

Ian,
I forgot to say that I agree with your point. Global warming means less rainfall in the south east region of the Murray Darling Basin. That means less irrigation water in the watersheds during the hot, dry growing seasons. That places many farms at risk --no water no irrigation.

Yet we have silence as you point out: --the hot dry conditions are just seen as drought--ie temporary. Soon it will get back to normal.The rains will come, the rivers will flow, and the deserts bloom once again.

Gary - as long as the government stacks the regulatory deck in favour of conventional energy providers, investment funds will be facing even greater odds than those that are always present with new techologies, such as the likelihood of success of the particular technology itself, small firms with limited management expertise, and so on. They are the hardest of hard heads and are not into philanthropy (philanthropists are another issue altogether). I've lost track of some of the detail, but I thought that the government had wound back even the previously limited concessions for the alt energy sector.

Phil,
yes you are right. The Howard Government has refused to extend the MRET--Mandatory Renewable Energy Target---scheme.