Tony Doherty, founding member of Climate Change Australia
Let us imagine for a moment that we humans are not causing climate change. There is still an important reason to change the way we live. It has been calculated that if everyone on our planet Earth lived the way Australians and Americans live, we would require between three and four planet Earths. Climate change is probably the biggest problem we are causing with waste being the next biggest.
It has been found that about 98% of the world’s climate scientists have discovered the following:
Over 100,000 of the world’s 150,000 glaciers are retreating with ever increasing speed.
Two major ice shelves the size of the United Kingdom have broken away from Antarctica after having been attached for hundreds of thousands of years.
Worldwide, the area of deserts has increased by over 50% in just 50 years. This also explains much of the refugee movement from northern Africa.
Much of the permanent ice in the Arctic has disappeared in just a few decades.
The Amazon Rainforest is drying out as is southern Australia.
Our planet is experiencing extreme weather events – more and worse bushfires, worse floods and droughts, extreme heat and extreme cold.
In other words, the world has a fever.
Similar occurrences have happened before but have taken thousands of years. The present ones have taken just a hundred years in a time when Earth is meant to be cooling.
Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, come along for the ride. You’re on it whether you paid your money or not. The thing is, it isn’t a free ride. Ask the bushfire or flood victims from just this summer. This year’s Queensland floods have caused well over a billion dollars damage.
Predictions for Australia
The Murray-Darling to have increasingly reduced flow.
By 2030, between 30% – 50% of our grain growing areas will be either marginal or won’t be able to grow grain.
Kakadu will probably once again be part of the sea.
Many parts of coastal Australia will lose land to the rising seas as is already starting to happen.
If 98 out of 100 doctors told you, you had cancer and two disagreed with them would you believe the 98 or the other two?
There is a small group of scientists who argue against man-made climate change. They seem to reference each other with their arguments in their echo chamber. Very, very few have done any research in the field. Probably Australia’s greatest climate change denier is Professor Plimer. In his book, Heaven and Earth, he either had many misquotes from real climate scientists or had bad science advice. Melbourne Professor, Ian Enting, found over 120 mistakes in the book. Yet, the Murdock press, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and John Laws regularly refer to Plimer’s book.
In USA perhaps the most famous climate-change denying blogger, Anthony Watts, gave great support for the work of Prof Richard Muller who was checking world temperatures over the past 150 years. Muller had been sceptical rising world temperatures but when the scientist came up with a result that Watts didn’t like, the scientist was not only rubbished but became the butt of Watts’ nasty work.
Then, of course, there are those who say Australia only produces 1.3 % of the world’s emissions. That is the same amount emitted by nearly 400 million people world wide. No wonder we are ignored by the non English speaking world because it is the English speaking world that is largely ignoring the problem.
If any climate denier had proof, he or she would submit it for scientific peer review. And, if there was just one who could prove man was not the major culprit of climate change that person would be awarded prizes from every country including the Nobel Peace Prize. After a century we are still waiting for such a breakthrough.
What to do
Australia is already behind many developed countries in fighting climate change and many of our good inventions are going overseas. For example, a decade ago we lost to China, CSIRO’s Dr Xi with his solar technology and in two years he became a billionaire and we lost thousands of potential jobs. We lost a $20 million dollar contract to build a solar plant in the Philippines – it went to Spain that used Australian technology and we lost more jobs. We lost Dr David Mills to California. He had been working on a solar trough in the Hunter to cut down on coal to heat water for electricity generation. He also has since become a billionaire and Australia lost even more jobs. These are just a few examples of where we’ve lost expertise and business because we no longer have a price on carbon. One of Australia’s promising technologies is the Sydney University’s zinc-bromide gel battery which has a potential of making over $70 billion world wide. A UK firm has invested $11 million in research but without a price on carbon that technology will probably go to the UK.
Renewable Energy is Cheap
Renewable energy has become as cheap as coal and is a lot cleaner which probably makes coal even dearer when the health effects are taken into account. Renewable energy could produce more jobs and especially in regional areas.
Many international companies have begun to reduce their emissions because of carbon prices while our companies are screaming at the government to put a price on carbon.
Sustainable building is growing in Europe with many of our environmental architects moving to those countries.
Over 80% of our electricity production relies on water. With our present drought it doesn’t require a comment.
Young people are becoming more aware that they will be the ones to suffer from our neglect and will have to find solutions. School protests are the beginning.
Farmers are beginning to question the climate deniers. Nearly seven out of every ten Australian farmers believe in man-made climate change.
Price on Carbon
We have to start by putting a price on carbon. It would take very little time before we saw the difference. The new climate reaction by our federal government is to pay polluters to cut back on pollution. The ordinary taxpayer pays the big polluters and yet we see no results.
A good example as to how fast change can be made is the drink container refund system in NSW. In less than a year, approximately 10 million drink containers no longer go to our local tips in the Midcoast Council area. The CSIRO and our universities are world leaders in how to combat climate change.
Don’t blame our present politicians for not doing anything. In 30 years time people will hardly remember Scott Morrison, Tony Abbot or Bill Shorten.
But our kids and grandkids will know who were their parents and grandparents and will be asking why we didn’t do anything.