Friday, July 15, 2011

PM is right. We are being fed crap on climate change

The most effective way for me to reduce my domestic greenhouse gas emissions would be to kick my family out of the house and live alone. Then I could walk up and down the street waving my greatly reduced energy bills and proclaiming what a wonderful greenie I am.
It would be a fraud, of course, just like most of Australia’s attempts to tackle climate change.
Australia is shirking its responsibility in this global challenge because our policies are dominated be ignorant egotists who have deluded themselves into believing they are greenies.
We are not leading the world on climate change – far from it.
Ignorant, loud-mouthed, egotistical ‘greenies’ and deluded journalists and politicians are keeping this country splashing around in the kiddies paddling pool instead of assisting with the big issues in the deep end.
The climate change policies of both major parties are stuck in our domestic electorate. Climate change is a global problem. Australia is a minor energy consumer in this world, but we are a major energy producer and this is where our efforts should focus.
We are a major energy producer in the fastest growing region of the globe – Asia Pacific. There are hundreds of millions of people living in poverty across the Asia Pacific region.
I recently visited communities that have infant mortality rates that make even our worst Aboriginal communities seem like Shangri La. The reason is even remote Aboriginal communities have access to medical care when their children get really sick. In many communities in our region of the world there is no medical care, there is no Flying Doctor, no ambulance, no ‘intervention’. So parents regularly bury children, who die of routine illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhoea, or malaria.
But, the good news is things are improving. Countries are working hard to raise their living standards to levels we take for granted. The bad news is achieving this requires capital and energy – lots of it. As a result Asia’s energy demand is growing at roughly the equivalent of a new ‘Australia’ joining the region every 18 months.
Naturally these countries are going for the most affordable energy and that is coal. Australia, being the world’s largest coal exporter, is therefore doing OK out of all this humanitarian endeavour. It helped us dodge the GFC.
When I hear the Australian Government pledge to reducing our domestic greenhouse emissions by five per cent, I say ‘so what.’
We are going to increase the amount of renewable energy in our power generation to 20 per cent – big deal. We might as well pour money into Morris Dancing – at least it would create more jobs.
If we really believed that climate change was serious, if we really believed that it required urgent action, we would stop wasting money on mirrors and propellers and instead concentrate on trying to improve coal-fired power generation.
If we could develop a one percent improvement in the world’s future coal-fired power generation this would dwarf anything Australia did in our puny domestic market. Yet the Gillard Government’s latest climate-change policy had nothing in this area.
And when a company in Victoria, HRL, embarked on an ambitious project to build a pilot-plant to attempt to prove technology with the potential to reduce emissions from coal-fired power by 30 per cent, so-called “environmentalists” turned on them like rabid dogs. Where were our politicians or journalists who could have put this outrageous attack into perspective?
If this project has been killed, then it is not beyond credibility to say that those responsible have dealt a severe blow to the world’s efforts to combat climate change. They clearly believe that their own egotistical agenda is more important than truly tackling climate change. They have no awareness of the real challenge and are quite content to just ‘kick their family out of the house’.
Climate change exposes a fundamental flaw in our democratic system – policies are formed by egotists. However, tackling climate change requires technically sophisticated collaborators – engineers.
They are essentially excluded from the debate.
This is a multi-faceted, complex, technical problem -- we won’t get the answers from focus groups.