It is widely accepted that you can't unscramble an egg. But I'd suggest that you can... we just haven't worked out how, and no one has been able to apply themselves to the task for long enough to succeed.
In some ways this is an analogy for addressing the issues of both climate change and energy security, two issues that seem to be working at cross purposes at present. But is that really the case, or is it in some people's interest to maintain this supposed opposition
As mentioned in the previous blog post, an oft used strategy by those who are seeking to subvert the national conversation on climate (because they don't have a good story or because the facts don't support their assertions) is to muddy the waters... or scramble the egg. But despite their best efforts, the climate change discussion egg is not scrambled.
There are a number of websites and organisations which aim to provide the honesty and the clarity which are essential in such an important international debate. Among them the ABC has done a fine job with its Fact Check unit in clarifying some of the public arguments which are being made against action on Climate Change.
The ABC have recently confirmed:
They have debunked the scare campaign that serious action on climate change will bankrupt us. While the government and the Murdoch press screamed that real action on emissions reduction will cost $600B, the treasury modelling they claimed to quote actually said that the economic effects of all scenarios considered “are small compared with the ongoing growth in GDP and GNI per person over time”. In other words - serious action is affordable, while delay and inaction is very costly.
Greg Jericho has also done some excellent modelling which show the real impact of a 45% emissions reduction on the economy, and finds Abbott's assertion about a $600B hit as 'breathtakingly stupid'.
While the entry of real authorities into the debate has ensured that the '$600B scare campaign' has disappeared very quickly that's not to say we won't see it trotted out as a desperate government looks to get re-elected.
Another scare campaign is being built around 'green vigilantes' who are supposedly looking to shut down the mining industry through litigation. A threat so serious it requires legislative changes to further weaken environmental protections.
Thankfully this scare and these legislative changes seem to be leaving Senate cross-benchers unimpressed. But the push by our government to reduce accountability and oversight is alarming as it risk removing protections that restrain authoritarian governments. It comes with consequences of limiting public interest litigation in defence of the environment. And it should be remembered that Greg Hunt's approval was struck down by the courts because due process was not followed. Asking governments to follow legislated process is hardly the actions of a vigilante. Cristy Clarke from Southern Cross University outlines these hazards on The Conversation website.
The resources industry claims Green groups are seeking to delay mining projects so that they become unprofitable, and Andrew Bolt claims Green groups are 'strangling our future'. Delay tactics have been a part of the fossil fuel industry's play book since the earliest days of Carbon Capture and storage, and after more than a decade of government support this fantasy technological solution is really no closer to commercial scale.
The Conversation often also touches on subjects that are not currently a part of the public conversation, but should be. In relation to Climate change and energy policy, rather than buying into arguments about baseload power, whether coal is good for humanity, whether renewable targets are unaffordable or unachievable, they address the need for energy efficiency. There is a great article which offers up new areas worthy of debate by following this link.
Going back to the scrambled egg analogy... it's possible that we are thinking about the issues associated with both climate change and energy security in the wrong way. After all, a young man worked out how to unscramble an egg back in 2013.
by Mark Enders
The Townsville Greens will publish blogs considered to be of merit. The opinions expressed are those of the Author.