If rumours are true, on Monday Penny Wong will announce an emissions reduction target that completely throws out of the window all the scientific opinion the Government has ever been given. But where are the scientists?
One story I have been told this morning is that Wong will be wildly spinning a 10% reduction below 2000 levels by 2020 as consistent with a global push to limit atmospheric carbon concentrations to 450 ppm.
There is absolutely no equitable (and therefore geopolitically possible) scenario imaginable under which that can be the case. Even a 25% target for Australia is barely consistent with 450 ppm, according to the latest science that factors in carbon cycle feedbacks. 40% reductions from Australia, with concomitant emissions reductions from everybody else, might just get us there.
The 10% reductions story has been running consistently for a week now, and as an undercurrent for far longer. But where are the scientists? Why aren’t they out on the front foot, explaining to journalists and, through them, all Australians, what a farce the 10% reduction scenario would be?
Some people seem to think that they can change the Government’s mind by Monday. I believe it’s too late for that. Cabinet has signed off on the White Paper’s targets already. The only chance for change is to react so hard against the White Paper that the Government is forced to strengthen it. And for that, we need the scientists to come out.
Sadly, after 12 years of conditioning to the Howard mentality, most scientists still fear that, if they speak out, they will lose any access that they have to the ear of Government. But, I ask, what is the point of having the ear of Government if you only tell them what they want to hear?
If you want to do something about Monday’s announcement, my suggestion is call or email any climate scientist you can find via Google and beg them to come out and slam an inadequate target. Tell them that simply sitting in their office or lab is not an option.
Most likely to speak out, I reckon, are David Karoly, Barrie Pittock, Barry Brook, Matthew England and Andy Pittman. Try them. Try Graeme Pearman, Penny Whetton, Roger Jones, John Church, Tony McMichael…
There’s plenty more. Brilliant scientists, all of them. We need them, desperately! Please help, people!