With a 37 degree day in Melbourne in November and the severe ongoing drought, the scientific predictions of the latest United Nations IPCC report such as intensified water security problems in southern and eastern Australia are well validated.
Projected surface temperature changes for the late 21st century (2090-2099) Source: IPCC Report 4
Finance Minister Nick Minchin stated (ABC radio AM 19/11) that Kevin Rudd "has recently become an economic conservative after a decade of being an economic vandal". Unfortunately, the Howard government has only recently become a "climate change realist" after 11 years of climate change vandalism.
Nick Minchin stated in March this year that he was still skeptical about human activity causing climate change. Mark Vaile said in October (ABC radio PM 29/10) that "there is conflicting scientific evidence on it".
The Howard government has been economic vandals by shutting Australia out of the booming world market for genuine renewable energy technology. Instead they have diverted around $500m more of our money towards subsidising risky research and development for the coal industry, which should be funding these activities on its own.
The latest IPCC report clearly states that the world is now facing a looming "abrupt or irreversible climate catastrophe that will spare no country", but it also says that many available measures combined can avoid the worst catastrophes at an estimated cost of less than 0.12% of the global economy annually until 2050.
These measures include transitioning away from coal to renewable energy and gas-fired power stations, developing hybrid cars, using more efficient electrical appliances and protecting our forests to store more carbon.
The Howard government is still basically stuck in denial about climate change while Labor is committing to little immediate action on reducing our carbon emissions. It seems that our political system is failing to address the urgency of the situation.
Voting for the Greens' strong emission reduction and energy efficiency targets is a good option, but we also need to consider how we can get climate change out of the political arena so that it can properly addressed with a bipartisan approach properly informed by science.
- Environment goes from bad to worse, Marian Wilkinson and Stephanie Peatling, November 19, 2007
- Minchin denies climate change man-made , Wendy Frew Environment Reporter, March 15, 2007
- Denial industry in full cry, John Quiggin, 16 Aug 2007
- Cabinet divided over climate change: Coalition MP, Karen Barlow, ABC radio PM - Monday, 29 October , 2007 18:14:00
- Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
- IPCC Synthesis Report: Greens respond with comprehensive climate action plan (PDF), The Greens, 19 November 2007
- A signal leaders 'cannot afford to ignore', The Age, Federal Election 2007 News, November 19, 2007
- What turned the Liberal party off climate change action? , Guy Pearse, Friday, 16 November 2007