Are our leaders criminally insane? Or maybe they live in a parallel universe?
These questions may seem harsh (and probably weird), but they need to be asked urgently in the face of developments in the past week.
First we’ll set some context. The climate science keeps getting worse. Climate change is happening faster and faster, with the impacts become greater. We are facing an emergency the likes of which humanity has never seen. Europe’s leading climate scientist, Prof Schellnhuber, has warned that on current trends, the Earth’s carrying capacity for humans will be below one billion by the year 2100. He also released a report recently, which showed that to give ourselves a two out of three chance of avoiding more than 2 degrees of warming (already unsafe), the USA and Australia needed to cut their emissions to zero by 2020, China by 2035, with the whole world reaching zero by 2050.
In this context, the inaction of our governments on climate change is indeed striking, and the lengths they will go to to protect the profits of the coal industry very disturbing.
Last week, the Rudd Government rejected a UK Government proposal that Australia sign up to their policy of only approving new coal-fired power stations if they have clean coal (carbon capture and storage) technology in place. This sensible policy was rejected, probably because the Rudd Government is aware this would mean no more coal-fired power stations would be built, as carbon capture and storage will never be viable. But why are they planning to build any more anyway? How about some wind and solar thermal power?
At the state level, The Age revealed that the Minister for Maximising Coal Industry Profits, Peter Batchelor, is planning to open up Victoria’s brown coal resources for export to India. This would mean that we export the world’s most greenhouse gas intensive fuel to India for it to burn in its power stations. Why aren’t we investing in manufacturing renewable energy technology and exporting that?
Our climate scientists are very worried, but they insist we still have a chance to avoid runaway climate change. However, this won’t happen unless we stop burning coal, and stop it fast.
We need to let our leaders know that we don’t live in a parallel universe, we live in reality, a reality threatened by the climate crisis.
A snap rally has been called to encourage Brumby to block the coal export proposal:
START: 12.30, Thursday 22nd October
WHERE: Steps of Parliament House, Spring St
FINISH: 1.10 – plenty of time for lunch and getting back to work!
RSVP: Let us know you’re coming by sending a quick email to exportingcoalisdumb -at- yahoo.com.au