A History lesson fit to weep over

Melbourne’s favorite tabloid daily news paper has reported an announcement from the Victorian Environment Minister as follows:

“A long term and sustained action program designed to limit the greenhouse effect and adapt to future climate change has been announced by the Victorian Government. … The government’s proposed program covers five main areas:
1. Research to provide more detailed and reliable information about the effects of the
Greenhouse effect on Victoria.
2. Limitation of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly by reducing dependence on fossil fuels
such as brown coal and improving the efficiency with which we use them.
3. Public information and education to increase community awareness and change people’s
behavior.
4. Long term planning to cope with future climatic change.
5. Development of a coordinated national approach.’

It further reports that the Victorian Labor Government will aim to achieve 20% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the next fifteen years and that:
– it seeks to replace brown coal fired electricity generation with gas powered generating plants.
– it will develop major programs to reduce energy consumption via increased efficiency.
– it will promote increased use of clean renewable power sources for energy generation.
– it will put in place major programs of reforestation and resource conservation via recycling.

How does that sound? Not enough perhaps but a pretty big step forward relative to the spin and inaction of recent times?

Of course there is a catch. Things are never quite what they seem in the warming world. Incredible as it seems the Sun News Pictorial reported these announcements in June 1989. twenty one years ago! The Environment Minister was not Gavin Jennings but ‘Snappy Tom Roper’ and the State Premier was John Cain. Cain was quoted as saying “…Global environmental problems can no longer be ignored or dismissed as too hard or too big to tackle. That is the resounding message of the past year or so.”
What happened? We have made no progress in the last two decades in fact Victorian greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 20% in that time. Think how much better placed we would be now if our politicians had taken action then consistent with their announcements.