Friday, March 10, 2006

Petrol hits $A1.25, and leather hits pavement.

Australians are responding to high oil prices by driving less. Hey, it is not only me.We bought 8 per cent less petrol last year, yet our economic growth continues to be respectable. Nominal GDP is forecast to grow by 7½ per cent in 2005-06.

This shows up the oil industry claim that reducing emissions will damage economic growth as rubbish. People adapt, markets adapt to people, and economies keep growing.

As petrol ate more of the family budget up we found cheaper ways to go work to bring home more bacon. Eight per cent of us switched to more fuel-efficient cars, small car sales jumped 18.8 per cent and large car sales fell 15.6 per cent and growth in four-wheel-drives slowed to 4.1 per cent.

Eight per cent fewer greenhouse emissions can be regarded a win of tropospheric magnitude, if the anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report due for release next month holds the heralded line:
The BBC has learnt the report will state that greenhouse gas emissions are the only explanation for changing patterns of weather across the world.

It will say rising concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be the cause of simultaneous freak patterns in sea ice, glaciers, droughts, floods, ecosystems, ocean acidification and wildlife migrations.

A source said: "The measurements from the natural world on all parts of the globe have been anomalous over the past decade.

"If a few were out of kilter we wouldn't be too worried because the Earth changes naturally. But the fact that they are virtually all out of kilter makes us very concerned."

Gaia's vital signs all out of kilter? That doesn't sound too good. But the good news is the admission of the only possible conclusion that the cause of global warming is man-made greenhouse gas by the IPCC. The fossil fuel folk have a habit of lobbying hard and there still is a month to go before the report is released. Is this all related to the column inches for cachet scandal where I have recently exposed Miranda Devine's growing dedication to promulgating the big oil message that one can't believe global warming is anthropogenic?
Every time I write an article pointing out there is no scientific consensus on the extent of man-made - as opposed to natural - climate change, or that attacks on genetically modified food are flawed, I am accused, quite seriously, of being on the payroll of Monsanto or Western Mining.
There is the rub - how much is us, how much is natural? If handy hacks like Devine are pushing this then it possibly is the clag that big oil are going to use to muddy the water in their attempts to influence the latest IPCC report.

Their agruement really is not good. It would be much smarter to turn around and say, "Hey you know what? Global warming IS real and anthropogenic, look we have all this research, and so to save the planet for the future and still move forward we are going to set the oil price at a premium. Recent events have shown that your economy will still grow by 4 per cent even if we jack up the price of petrol up by 8. Pay up at the pump, or punish your great-grandkids."

They work less for the money (don't worry, if there really is a Gaia the bastards will spend purgatory planting rainforests for arboreal hippies) and we get healthier, and richer.

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