Sunday, September 09, 2007

Australia most global warming aware. No, really!

I've come across this before, but it still catches me by surprise — the fact that Australians are at the forefront of global warming consciousness. A September poll by World Public shows that, despite our fossil-fuel fixated Government's penchant for future non-binding emissions targets we, the governed, want proper action now. A whopping ninety-two percent of us.

Twelve countries were asked whether steps should be taken to address climate change and majorities in all but one of them favored action. The largest majority in favor of measures to combat global warming is found in Australia (92%).

China and Israel are the next most likely (83%) to favor such measures. Eighty percent of respondents in the United States—the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases—also support taking such measures. The lowest level of support for taking steps to address the problem is found in India, nonetheless nearly half (49%) favor taking action while just 24 percent oppose it (26% do not answer).

In no country (out of 12 asked) does more than one in four endorse the statement, “Until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs.” The countries where the highest percentages favor delaying any action are India (24%), Russia (22%) and Armenia (19%). The countries with the lowest are Argentina (3%), and Thailand (7%).

How is it that we ended up so ahead of the curve for climate change, despite the long-standing counter-efforts of our Kyoto Protocol combatant of a Federal Government?

It's tempting to go for the low-hanging fruit and put it down to an outdoor lifestyle that allows us to connect with nature, or some other self-congratulatory nod to some aspect of Aussiedom. But I think it has more to do with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation inspired drought we endured. It impacted the countryside the worst, but even the comfortable suburbs of all major cities copped it in the daily image stream of cracked earth and farmers kicking the dirt. Soon the seriousness was driven home by domestic water-restrictions as local dam levels dropped alarmingly.

We responded. The masses let it mellow if it were yellow,and the immediate reaction of the wealthy was to ward-off zealous water-inspectors with signs indicating a bore had been sunk for garden irrigation. In time the water-inspectors appeared less Orwellian and somehow fitted in with the spate of suburban gardens that abandoned their thirsty, mother-country heritage to go native. Grey water was redirected over lawns, and Australia showered with a bucket to catch the cumulative waste. While the water drummed down on this latest symbol of a changed world, the plastic bucket, and we stared at the unhelpful dribbling from the water-efficient shower heads, our entire citizenry had daily opportunities to consider how things got to this stage. That's perhaps how ninety two percent of us decided that we are living through global warming induced climate change. A newly enlightened media, and Al Gore's phenomenally successful An Inconvenient Truth only confirmed our suspicions.

Giving this theory weight is that we did save a lot of domestic water. In Sydney I remember being down 25 percent on the previous year's consumption atone stage. The year-to-year worsening of the bush fire seasons also helped — another dramatic, big ticket item for the evening news that is easily linked to global warming.

In summary, I believe that a reason for our high awareness, is because our continent is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. And it's only going to get worse. So close to the election there is no way John Howard's latest ploys to delay emissions targes are going to fly— in this climate.

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Anonymous said...

I find that if more countires took steps like Australia, the world would be better off. The large investment we place today will later be worth it. Instead of just trying to patch up problems as they arise, why not just prevent them from ever appearing.

Anonymous said...

Bingo brother

Anonymous said...

After reading the posts here, I see that there is a larger group than first thought, WHO HAVE FAILED HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY! Global warming is a Hoax, and anyone who understands the very basics of carbon and its effect on plant life knows it.

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