Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Climate change doubters are endangering our common future

"Most of us do accept the science that human action is changing our climate directly and that only by cutting emissions dramatically can we avert real disaster. Even those who aren't sure take the view that simple prudence dictates action. After all, none of us thinks our homes will be burnt down, but we do take out fire insurance. In fact the probabilities on climate change are far, far higher and the consequences of inaction almost unthinkable".

No that's not Bob Brown, it's John Gummer a British Conservative Party politican who was a minister in the Thatcher and Major governments and is now a member of the House of Lords. Although it may seem surprising here in OZ, he, like many conservatives in Europe and the UK is also a strong supporter of action on climate change. His piece "Climate change doubters are endangering our common future" was published in The Australian a week or two ago and does a good job of helping to explain why action on climate change is necessary and why meaningful action has bipartisan support in the UK and Europe.

"The science is now even more compelling but even if it weren't, most of what we have to do to fight climate change we will have to do anyway. With the world population reaching 9 billion by 2050 and more and more of its people living above subsistence level, we just have to learn to conserve our resources and do more with less. There are now more middle-class people in India than there are in Europe. In China, internal demand for goods and services is escalating at an enormous rate. I returned from a visit to Beijing at the end of last month. The next five-year plan will put sustainability and the battle against climate change at the heart of the nation's economic policy."

"So it is not only the Europeans - Right and Left - who have taken up the challenge. From California to Korea, governments and civil society are finding their own ways to work towards a world that is not threatened by pollution. Even if they were all wrong and we acted, the result would be that we would have a cleaner planet, more able to cope with feeding, housing, and clothing those 9 billion people. If, however, we follow the sceptics and they turn out to be wrong, then we would leave our children a legacy of destruction. The risk is all one way, which explains why in Britain, scepticism is confined to the extremes."
The bolding is my emphasis because I think it sums things up pretty neatly.

Gummer finishes with a call for us here in Australia to play our part in combating climate change:

"In the end, we all have to face the facts. The scientific consensus is now so significant that, even if we ourselves remain doubters, it would be wrong to endanger our children by hoping for the best. If we act sensibly there is real chance of success. The rest of the world is doing it, and I hope that Australia will join us in her own way and play her part in protecting our common future."

As the pollies say: Hear hear!

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