Wednesday, April 25, 2007

LETTER: Balancing act on climate change

Here is another good letter by Peter Christoff published in The Age on April 25, 2007, reproduced in full.

Yesterday's lead story about China and climate change told only half the story.

True, China will become the planet's biggest national greenhouse gas emitter within a decade. But there was no comment that China's per capita emissions are approximately one tenth of Australia's, which are the world's highest and indicate the major difference in living standards between our two countries.

No comment, either, that the UN Convention on Climate Change places the onus and burden of significant initial emissions reduction on developed countries. The United States and Australia, signatories to this treaty, have substantively refused to abide by their commitments.

No mention that China - unlike Australia - will derive 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, has rejected nuclear power as a major energy option, and is the world's largest site of emissions-reduction projects, funded through Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism.

Nor that a significant proportion of China's emissions come from manufacturing goods to meet Western demand.

China is confronting both the substantial domestic impacts of global warming and the substantial challenge of overcoming real poverty and underdevelopment. This involves difficult moral and policy choices, not a "hard line".

It is very different from the situation Prime Minister Howard faces as he seeks, inappropriately, to avoid real action on global warming (including significant assistance to China) in order to preserve a completely different level of "economic prosperity".

Author: Dr Peter Christoff, School of Social and Environmental Inquiry, University of Melbourne


Anonymous said...

This is outrageous that the left, who are determined to place all these enourmous deprivations on us, will not discuss EVIDENCE.

Now its not just you guys. Bad as that is. Its the entire energy-deprivation-crusade more generally.

The whole lot of you are on an evidence filibuster.

And the fact of it is you don’t have any evidence. Now once it was found that the original hypothesis didn’t pan out it would normally be ‘back to the drawing-board’ like that Austrian-Disney-Duck.’

Its a matter of great concern that thousands of people aren’t going back to the drawing-board but are in fact fine with having no evidence whatsoever and are continuing to talk as if they have a positive case.

People who do this must not get off Scot-Free.

This is anti-evidence anti-science behavious is NOT neutral morally.

Now lets see some evidence.

Anonymous said...

Let me respond to 'Anonymous'.

First, it is interesting that your comment IS anonymous - most of us engaged in this debate are quite prepared to put our names to our public remarks and take responsibility for them.

Second, I am unclear which sort of evidence you are referring to or need.

Perhaps you haven't yet looked at the mass of scientific data summarised in a succession of IPCC reports, or the even greater volume of scientific assessments published over the past three decades in the journals NATURE and SCIENCE which provide conclusive evidence of climate change and also the links between increases in atmospheric CO2, human activities and global warming.

Or perhaps you require evidence of more regional changes in China?

Then look at the various official reports issued by the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Government - hardly radical in their orientation - for these.

If you are looking for evidence of widespread and conservative support for the view that we must limit global and national greenhouse emissions, you may wish to look closely at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed and ratified by over 170 countries, including Australia.

Or - just perhaps - everyone is plain wrong here?

If so, then where is YOUR evidence that this is the case? This is the question that has been asked repeatedly of climate sceptics -
without any adequate, scientifically rigorous response.

Over to you.....

Peter Christoff