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Life Beyond The Election « Previous | |Next »
November 22, 2007

While our politicians have been debating the finer points of how to best influence other countries about their level of green house gas emissions the detail about the likely impact on Australia outlined in the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC has almost been bypast in public discussion.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report gives a good indication of things to come. Impacts by sector on water, agriculture infrastructure/settlements [including coastal zones], human health, tourism, transport, energy, are given as examples of things to come. Actual changes in climate linked to some of these sectors are given. Then there is the impact on various geographic area. Australia will see a further loss in biodiversity, further water security problems and by 2030 production from agriculture and forestry is projected to decline over southern and eastern Australia. By 2050 coastal development and population growth will be at risk from sea level rises.

These projections give urgency to the need to educate the community of the seriousness of reducing greenhouse gases by all countries. Obviously all countries are not capable of making the same contribution and others have the conflict of bringing their communities up to the standard of living the developed world has enjoyed for several hundred years.

Apart from the views of scientists and specific groups in our community the level of knowledge and understanding of the likely impacts on Australia is in general very low. I have been listening to the views of people in the rural community as canvassed by an ABC rural reporter Ten of the twelve people interviewed did not see there was a real problem.Two recognised the problem but were unrealistic in terms of solutions.People discussing such things as paper mills, timber harvesting or production of fuel from various forms of vegetation all seem to think growing timber plantations will be their salvation.

The forecasts suggest that such enterprises will be problematic.At all levels of government in Australia there there are individuals who appear to be sceptical about the documentation available. I suspect not many of these people have made their own inquiries. They certainly have a responsibility to do so. We will need to have an informed bipartisan approach to develop our own way ahead and make the international contribution of which we are potentially capable. Change will happen irrespective of political views.

| Posted by Len at 8:18 AM | | Comments (2)


I see that the Australian National University (ANU) will defy federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull's rejection of its bid to co-host a $50 million national climate change centre, and will now push ahead with ambitious plans to establish a world-class research facility.

Carmen Lawrence had an op-ed in The Age where she said that one of the key issues that a new government had to deal with was climate change:

Many Australians appear eager to see a government that understands the urgency of addressing climate change and environmental degradation rather than one reluctant to do little more than tinker at the edges, offering only token gestures that do not disturb the "mainstream" .... Very few now doubt that global warming and environmental degradation are real problems, although, amazingly, there are still vacillators in the Howard Government's ranks. The big question is whether the government elected on November 24 will have the courage — and ingenuity — to tackle the changes we will have to make to even begin reversing the damage we've inflicted on the planet.

She adds that extraordinary energy and creativity will be required to halt and reverse environmental damage in this country, let alone in other parts of the world, and to make our contribution to the crucial reduction in greenhouse gases.This requires a change in thinking about the meaning of progress. Denial and delay are simply no longer tolerable.