Sunday, October 25, 2009

Glasses charged for Copenhagen

I don't like admitting it because I'm a glass-half-full guy, but, right now, the political climate change world is wobbling some.

In Australia, we have a Government that is finally negotiating Carbon Pollution Reductions Scheme bill amendments with an opposition determined to destroy itself for their claque of Carbon Pollution Freedom Scheme lobbyists, in an agonisingly slow-mo train crash over climate change.

Because of aforesaid recalcitrants and a Government determined to win the politics of climate change, but not take the real leadership science says is needed, and because we export 80% of the world's coal, the worst of it is that the best we can hope for.

The high side of Government's proposed 5 to 25% targets (depending on what the rest of the world signs up to at Copenhagen) are on the low side of what climate models tell us are necessary if we are going to control warming by 2C, where a 25% to 40... 60, some say 80% reduction in co2e emissions from 1990 levels is counselled.

On the bright side, politically we are many miles down the road from where we were eighteen month ago, although popular concern about climate change is dropping priority as the economy bites. This, and a concerted campaign by sceptics who, no doubt have had some wins, as well as a sense that, 'well since the Government is doing something we can worry less', all contribute to this drop in priority, I believe.

Will the Government hold the line on what is a weak commitment anyway, or will they give the polluters bigger exemptions to avoid a double dissolution election? The point of the CPRS is that there has to be pain for some.

In the US, Obama's election turned the US from climate change bad guy, to most important player in creating a post Kyoto world. An amazing transformation that even got China making some very positive noises about fighting climate change. And then,... nothing. Obamania ended, leaving the US hung-over, the GFC bit, and Obama's political capital started getting chewed up in health-care reform. What kind of country gets itself torn up over basic universal health-care? Unchecked climate change is going to be so much more expensive, people.

Here's how Jim Hoggan sees it on Desmog blog:

A new poll released by the Pew Research Center has found the number of Americans who believe that pollution is causing climate change declined 20 percent over the past two years. Only 57% of Americans believe there is solid scientific evidence that the global climate is warming.

Some pin this decline on the economy, arguing that Americans have other things to worry about and climate change has drifted off their radar screen.
He goes on to point the finger at the dark influence of Big Denial, all explained in his new book, Climate Cover Up — The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.

It remains to be seen whether the political climate change world is in a death wobble, or we recover our sense of purpose, and straighten up in time for Copenhagen.

You'll forgive me now, if I finish this half-full glass. Then drink another.

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