As ever, the climate and health are never far from the news on both the domestic and international stages. I doubt that I was the only person surprised to hear how closely aligned the “conservationist” Tony Abbott’s approach to climate change is to that of the Obama administration.

Perhaps the federal government needs to have a quick look at this World Bank overview of carbon pricing and international progress, and reconsider inaction on climate change (“About 40 countries and more than 20 cities, states and provinces already use carbon pricing mechanisms or are planning to implement them”).

It may also be important for the ALP to review the large amount of international progress on pricing carbon, with the Climate and Health Alliance asking Labor  “to remain committed to ensuring there is a financial disincentive to the production of greenhouse gas emissions to drive innovation and emissions reductions.”

“Experts agree that a price on carbon is the most effective method of achieving emissions reductions, and the ALP is urged to remain committed to ensuring there is a financial disincentive to the production of greenhouse gas emissions to drive innovation and emissions reductions.”

The CSIRO staff association did find some action in the Direct Action proposal – but it entails losing scientists in Victoria and Tasmania.

The only ‘direct action’ the Government appears to be taking on climate change is sacking the scientists performing the research or abolishing the departments who deliver the advice.

Many have been pleased to see Obama’s plans to tackle climate change. In this article in the Conversation, Rosemary Lyster points out that Obama is not only tackling coal production but that the proposed changes represent “a very significant public health intervention”.

Others believe as a large producer of carbon emissions, America is not doing enough.

The increasing debate in the United States is providing some interesting reading. This article from the NY Times provides one perspective on why it is so difficult to educate people on the imperative to combat climate change.

“So the real obstacle, as we try to confront global warming, is economic ideology reinforced by hostility to science. In some ways this makes the task easier: we do not, in fact, have to force people to accept large monetary losses. But we do have to overcome pride and wilful ignorance, which is hard indeed.”

(You’re telling us!?)

The IPCC co-chairman had a slightly different take in this article in the Irish Times:

Global warming deniers have been involved in a “concerted campaign to isolate individual scientists and destroy them,” according to one of the co-chairmen of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Prof Thomas Stocker, Swiss-born co-chairman of the panel’s working group on the scientific basis for climate change, said the campaign to undermine its fifth assessment report was led by “people and organisations with vested interests”.

Perhaps a more frightening insight is provided by Nafeez Ahmed at the Guardian. The age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex is ready. Are you? examines the link between climate change and conflict and who is likely to profit.  A chilling and familiar tale.

If money talks, the interesting development of a law suit regarding lack of planning for the impacts of climate change may make a few with fingers in their ears sit up and take notice. A major insurance company is suing a municipal government in America for not preparing for storms caused by global warming according to the Washington Post.

“I think what the insurers are saying is: ‘We’re in the business of covering unforeseen risks. Things that are basically accidents,’” Ceres insurance industry analyst Andrew Logan told NP. “‘But we’re now at a point with the science where climate change is now a foreseeable risk.’”

Another article goes further down the money trail, stating that climate change is “one of the global mega-trends impacting sovereign creditworthiness, in most cases negatively.”

“Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has been regularly assessing the impact that demographic change is likely to have on sovereign creditworthiness. Our conclusion is that over a multi-decade time horizon the financial consequences of aging societies are likely to overshadow all other economic trends for most sovereigns (see “Global Aging 2013: Rising To The Challenge” March 20, 2013). We also expect advanced economies will be more negatively affected than sovereigns in emerging markets. In contrast, while most sovereigns will feel the negative effects of climate change to some degree, we expect the poorest and lowest rated sovereigns will bear the brunt of the impact. This is in part due to their reliance on agricultural production and employment, which can be vulnerable to shifting climate patterns and extreme weather events, but also due to their weaker capacity to absorb the financial cost.”

Perhaps there is only one sure thing about the Australian government’s approach to climate change – as aptly described by Simon Sheikh at the Guardian, Unfortunately Tony Abbott can’t cancel meetings with the climate.

 

 

 

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