Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Why climate change can never be addressed

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Why cut our own throats

when others gas on?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 at 09:09am

Henry Ergas says Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme needs the rest of the world to join in to make sense:

In the absence of such a regime, abatement in Australia, no matter how great, will have no direct impact on the risk of harmful climate change. The only reason for undertaking that abatement is the possibility that it will assist such a regime to come into place.

However, whether abatement in Australia would have a “demonstration effect” internationally, and if so to what extent, is highly uncertain…

As a result, if there is a likelihood that harmful climate change will nonetheless occur, we should be responding not by reducing our incomes but by increasing them and accumulating precautionary savings. In that scenario, bearing greater abatement costs now will not reduce costs in the future but merely increase the future pain.

But as Ergas notes, emission trading is being touted here not by the rational but by religious freaks “with the ferocity of latter-day Savonarolas”. Faith, not reason, is pushing us to this pain.

A universal abatement program for climate change will never occur because the leaders of every country have different priorities.

Whilst it appears the George W Bush is prepared to wage wars to secure America’s oil requirements, Chavez in Venezuela is intent on preventing that from happening. Whilst Australia will never forgo the economic benefits of coal exports, we find the major priority in Zimbabwe is the self preservation of the president … and so it goes, a different priority for each country.

The big collapse will have to occur to eliminate these many priorities before they can ever sit down together and genuinely concentrate on the environment.


Written by Greg Naylor

1 July 2008 at 7:55 pm

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