Among those patently unqualified to evaluate the science of climate change I would include myself, Senators Fielding and Minchin and Miranda Devine – but that doesn’t prevent any of us from having a say. I am not sure what tea leaves Senator Fielding consults, but I am sure Senator Minchin and Miranda Devine enter the fray on ideological rather than scientific grounds. As for myself, I leave it to the much more qualified people referred to in the appropriate item in my side bar.
I am prepared to concede that climate change is not entirely anthropogenic, and I do fear that not all the suggested remedies will actually work. You will find some very interesting ideas on the subject if you buy or subscribe to November’s Monthly Magazine.
“On the morning of 19 December, we will likely wake to read the results of the United Nations Climate-Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meetings will be … the most important to have occurred since World War II, and whatever their outcome they will have a lasting effect on our planet.”
– Tim Flannery
In “Copenhagen and Beyond”, Tim Flannery, John Gray and Peter Doherty provide a range of insights into the issue of climate change and our political and social responses to it. Flannery discusses the conference itself – what it hopes to achieve and where potential conflicts lie; Gray argues it is vital we recognise the gravity of our predicament and embrace more drastic policy; and Doherty considers the role scepticism has to play in the ongoing debate, highlighting the need for rigorous critical dialogue, but warning of the dangers of unreflective denialism. Despite their differing concerns, each essay emphasises the urgency of a reassessment of our response to an impending crisis.
“No technological ﬁx can fully resolve the world’s climate crisis, which is a result of the excessive demands humankind has made on the planet. Even so, technological fixes will be indispensable in navigating the rapids that lie ahead; the technologies that may prove most useful may well include those that are most commonly demonised.”
– John Gray
Peter Doherty’s essay is particularly good because it remains good-tempered while being most incisive.
Miranda is a professional stirrer. Unless directly attacked, I’ve decided it is best to leave her alone. She thrives on attention.
On Senator Minchin, see what emerged from his own mouth when interviewed on Four Corners.
Meanwhile last night Kerry O’Brien was “leading the witness” somewhat when he interviewed Sir David Attenborough:
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, WILDLIFE FILMMAKER: That one is about the polar regions of the planet, of how the North Pole and the South Pole and the lands around it, the sort of life that exists there now. And what is likely to happen to it. But primarily it’s about the animals that still live there. There are very few things more fascinating than penguins and polar bears up in the north and seals and sea lions, and sea elephants and so on. And albatross. There’s lot of things to see.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Will it have relevance to the global warming debate?
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: Yes, it will do. And of course if you’re cynically inclined or not optimistically inclined you may think this is our last chance to make such a series.
KERRY O’BRIEN: What did you think?
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: I think without any doubt at all that the Arctic is going to change quite profoundly. How much it loses and how much it gains, who knows.
It’s too early to predict and too complicated. Down in the south it’s different in as such as the Antarctic ice cap is so huge and so thick – miles of ice thick – it’s going to take a long time before that moves significantly or as great a significance as the north.
KERRY O’BRIEN: You’ve tended not to get caught up in political issues in the past, but over 50 years you’ve probably seen more of the world close up than practically any other human being and you’ve revisited many of those places. Have you witnessed dramatic change in that time?
SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: Environmental change – not.
Change certainly, change that has been brought about by the increasing human population on the earth, the number of people on this planet has tripled. There are three times as many people on the planet now as when I first made television programs…
Not entirely what Kerry may have hoped for, I suspect, and one sentence in particular will no doubt be quoted in certain circles. One should however consider this from 2006: