Thursday, 24 July 2008

Dawn of the Dead

Not all endangered species will be missed. Take, for example, the climate change skeptics, unwilling to acknowledge all the evidence around them and smell the roses. Personally, I thought they were extinct by now, at least in Australia and especially given the results of the last federal elections. That, however, is not the case.
If you read The Age's business section, you will notice that it is full of commentary and opinions by climate change skeptics. Now, in case you didn't know, The Age is Melbourne's second most popular newspaper; number one is a tabloid, naturally, so The Age is the paper that tries to cater for the more sophisticated crowds (and some days it does a better job at that than others). Point is, The Age's business section has serious pretensions, so it's a bit surprising their business section is so full of archaeological specimen. Yet, on the other hand, it makes sense to find climate change skeptics in the business section: these skeptics are, essentially, those with all the money that are afraid of not being able to make as much money when polluting would stop being socially acceptable.

If that business section wasn't enough, today it seemed the skeptics are coming out of the woodworks all the way as we were informed a faction in the Liberal party is demanding the implementation of climate change prevention scheme in Australia be postponed until the leading polluters - China, India and the USA - do something about it first.
This faction is led by Kevin Andrews, who - after his stints as the Workplace Relations Minister and Immigration Minister - seems to have taken a real delight in portraying the role of Doctor Evil (but in real life). A self proclaimed climate change skeptic, Andrews is also a Catholic, and I'm putting my money on him being a skeptic because he's assuming god wouldn't let the world go down. Isn't it funny to see people like Andrews believe the totally unfounded doctrine of the Catholic Church with sheer enthusiasm, but when it comes to climate change with enough evidence going for it that even OJ Simpson would be convicted by a jury of his peers Andrews has a problem believing? Go figure.
That said, there is definitely sense in Andrews' policy: his claim is that by taking the initiative Australian companies would be disadvantaged compared to their international peers. That may be true, but if the Liberals win an election with that policy then maybe we should move to New Zealand.

With Andrews' initiative, the Australia's political map is now divided in three. First, there's Labor, that wants to start acting by 2010 (if I'm not mistaken); then there's the current Liberal party policy of 2012; and now there's the Andrews faction that wants to wait as long as they can get away with.
The thing that strikes me as odd about it all is that no one in mainstream politics tries to approach climate change as an opportunity. Yes, an opportunity: an opportunity to live in a pollution free world. An opportunity for Australia to take the lead in environment friendly industries and make some money out of it. Sure, there are challenges ahead, and the workers employed in pollution rich industries should be taken care of, but there is also much to be gained from taking the initiative on climate change - and that's while totally ignoring the fact we might just be saving the world while at it.
Needless to say, there's a very good reason why no politician with some sense in their head treats climate change as an opportunity: they're all kissing the asses of all those rich companies making a killing out of killing our environment; they wouldn't dare act against them. Check out Rudd and his kissing up to the coal industry to see how even the left falls apart in the face of money.
No wonder I'm a pessimist with regards to where this world is heading.


Uri said...

I’ll give you a ‘frinstance:
There’s a platoon of soldiers on a hike.

Some poor guy gets the job of making sure they’re all close to each other.

He goes to the last soldier and asks him to step up, and the guy says “I’m not that far behind these guys. It’s not my fault that they are so far from the rest of the column”. And he has a point – there is a huge space between the next-to-last soldier and the one before him.

So then he goes to that guy and asks him to step up, but the guy says “what do you want from me? I’m not the last one. What does it matter if I’m far behind as long as I’m not the last?”

This attitude of “sure, something needs to be done, but why start with me?” is really hurting us.

That being said, you lost me when you decided that if someone religious and not-green-enough than the two must be connected.

Moshe Reuveni said...

You're right about there not being a proper connection between religion and global warming skepticism. However...
In this particular case, I fully admit that this Kevin Andrews guy is getting on my nerves so much I lose my temper. You're obviously not aware of it, but the guy was responsible to some nasty stuff when he was in charge of immigration. He really does qualify as evil in my book.
Second, he is a Catholic to the bone, and George Pell, the archbishop of Australia (or whatever title he has) keeps on making skeptic comments about global warming. Being that the two are mates, it stands to reason they influence one another. For the record, the Pope made some favorable comments with regards to global warming when he visited Australia a couple of weeks ago, so being Catholic does not necessarily imply being a straight idiot.

On to another example, similar to yours. A guy wrote a letter to The Age, saying that he checked it out and found that he's responsible for about 1% of his street's garbage. Given that this is the case, he has decided he will no longer throw his garbage in the bins three stories below but rather chuck it out the window to the street.
Australia generates around 1% of the world's carbon emissions.