Carbon Crunch Time
From the Guardian, powerful reading from James Hansen, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and “first to point out the perils of climate change to the US Congress”:
Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold, hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – “goals” for emission reductions, “offsets” that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual “cap-and-trade” mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics as usual.
Science reveals that climate is close to tipping points. It is a dead certainty that continued high emissions will create a chaotic dynamic situation for young people, with deteriorating climate conditions out of their control.
Science also reveals what is needed to stabilise atmospheric composition and climate. Geophysical data on the carbon amounts in oil, gas and coal show that the problem is solvable, if we phase out global coal emissions within 20 years and prohibit emissions from unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands and oil shale.
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Governments going to Copenhagen claim to have such goals for 2050, which they will achieve with the “cap-and-trade” mechanism. They are lying through their teeth.
So where does that place Joe Hockey in his bid to lead the Liberal Party in a three-cornered contest with Malcolm and Tony?
Should Joe Hockey win he has three alternatives:
a) He supports delaying the ETS vote till February and reneging on the Liberal Party’s deal with Labor;
b) He supports passing the ETS deal and directs Liberal senators to vote for the legislation;
c) He allows a “free” vote which sees the legislation pass.
If he does either b) or c) he has about half the party against him.
If he does a) he has the other half of the party against him.
Far from “healing the party”, he would inevitably begin his term as a pariah to half the party. He can’t win. He would begin as a crippled leader, with a partyroom already half-full of willing detractors and enthusiastic regime-change plotters.
This does not play into Joe’s longterm plan to become Prime Minister one day.
If Joe’s ambition has not yet blinded him completely he will realise that this is not the tide in the affairs of Joe which should be taken at the flood. It will not lead on to fortune. This is the lowest of tides in the affairs of the Liberals and he needs to avoid being stranded in the shallows and in miseries. Once stranded, he will lose his venture. He is not Costello and Malcolm’s crown is not John’s smelly undies. He should let Malcolm (or Tony) lose the next election first. (If it’s the mad abbott, the loss will be on the basis of the party’s abdication of political responsibility on climate change.) If he goes now, “The enemy increaseth every day; [He], at the height, [is only] ready to decline.”
Now, despite all that, the government’s scheme is bullshit. Rudd and Wong are pumping up their scheme as if it is the great world-saver which will bring them garlands for centuries to come as the great saviours of mankind. 5% is a joke. 25% is not much better. But at least it is some sort of recognition of the reality of the problem.
There are those in the Opposition benches, however, who would have it all stop; those who think it is a conspiracy; those, in fact, who would risk the lives of my children and their children’s children, and of your children and their children’s children’s children on the basis only and entirely of hearsay, rumour, gut feeling and conspiracy theories flogged by snake-oil salesmen with their own agendas (like Cardinal George Pell). Well, if they were to take their own families out and subject them to whatever miseries they wish, that would be one thing. But other people’s families are off limits.
And if they succeed, and when after all it is clear (as it soon will be) that they were terribly, terribly mistaken, what will they say?
“Ooh, sorry, I was just doing my job”?
The books tell us of perhaps the sleaziest and most intellectually dishonest, theological argument ever (even including “transubstantiation”). It’s Pascal’s Wager, the idea that you may as well make yourself try to believe in god because:
if there’s a god…
a) if you believe in him you go to heaven
b) if you don’t you go to hell;
if there’s no god…
c) if you believe there is, you’ve lost nothing you didn’t have
d) if you don’t believe you’ve lost nothing you didn’t have.
The problem is, you have to choose the right god to believe in and there are literally thousands of them to choose from. Choose Jehovah to believe in like a good little girl or boy and the great mountain god Bogongo could well subject you to excruciating torment for the rest of eternity. And don’t forget, you can only choose one – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me … for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God…”
There is another version of Pascal’s Wager, though, which makes a lot more sense.
If anthropogenic global warming is real
a) if you do something to fix it – you win
b) if you do nothing to fix it – you, and the generations that follow you, lose
If anthropogenic global warming is not real
c) if you do something to “fix it” – you clean things up a bit: health, the environment; you create new jobs, you slow extinctions.
d) if you do nothing – you lose the opportunity to clean things up a bit.
That is, there is no contest. If you take action there is only upside. If you understood risk management, you would act on the assumption that anthropogenic climate change is real. You have NOTHING TO LOSE and SO MUCH TO GAIN.
If the global warming sceptics and deniers succeed, and when it is clear it is too late, there are four Australians who will be cursed by generations of those who manage to survive and for whom “climate conditions are out of their control”.
Their names will be used to scare small children.
[tags]politics, government, climate change, global warming, pascal’s wager, religion, theology, NASA, Guardian, climate, Joe Hockey, Hockey, Tony Abbott, Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Turnbull, Minchin, Nick Minchin, George Pell, Cardinal Pell, Pell, Liberal Party, liberal leadership, ITS, CPRS, environment, extinction, health, god, transubstantiation, ten commandments, exodus, shakespeare, hearsay, rumour, gut feeling, conspiracy theory, snake-oil, James Hansen, Goddard Institute, values, australian values, australian political values, political values, climate values, global values[/tags]
Posted: 30 November, 2009 in Australian Politics, Australian Values, Economics, environment, politics and government, Religion, Science, values.
Tags: Abbott, Australian political values, Australian Values, Cardinal Pell, climate, climate change, climate values, conspiracy theory, CPRS, environment, exodus, extinction, George Pell, global values, global warming, God, Goddard Institute, government, Guardian, gut feeling, health, hearsay, Hockey, ITS, James Hansen, Joe Hockey, Liberal leadership, Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, Minchin, NASA, Nick Minchin, Pascal's wager, Pell, political values, politics, Religion, rumour, shakespeare, snake-oil, ten commandments, theology, Tony Abbott, transubstantiation, Turnbull, values