Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Days of Christmas - Number 1

Now I know that this isn't actually correct for the twelve days; and I know that Christmas isn't for everyone. But it is for many of us Downunder and the days are near enough.

I'm going to try and do one of these a day, to talk about some of the things I'd like and some of the things that have been sad/bad/shameful in 2009.
For the first day of Christmas the thing I'd like most is a decent agreement in Copenhagen. You can be a sceptic if you like, you can say that the climate isn't changing, you can say it's a natural cycle, it's not done by man, yadah yadah. Here's my point: Carbon costs money - whether it's coal or oil or gas or even wood. Carbon costs and so the less of it we use the better off the world is going to be. "What about the producers" you say? Same as anything really, markets change, demand changes. But I'm not that concerned. Our population is growing so even if we decrease per capita usage total demand will stay stable or increase. In any event it's a non-renewable resource in the main and so when it's gone it's gone. I'd rather not have that happen any time soon. So in default of climate change, reducing carbon usage and therefore emissions is IMHO a good thing.
I happen to believe that the ocean levels are rising and the place is warming however. Whichever case you take, the bottom line is that we have to make some tough decisions. The likes of Barnaby Joyce, Nick Minchin, Tony Abbott et al are simply trying to create a "spoiled brat" argument. "I want to keep being profligate with my resource use and you aren't going to stop me". Playground stuff. "Well we're not doing it unless he does it". Playground stuff again. We need to turn the tide, we need to change a couple of centuries or so of behaviour. We need to start somewhere and someone needs to start. It might as well be us. And please don't get on to that rubbish about jobs, terms of trade etc. I'd far rather see modifications to "free trade" designed to protect the resource-sensible and penalise the resource-stupid.
The most important thing here however is that we have to empower developing nations to come along with us. I'd rather that was with a combination of structural changes and money, rather than straight money.
So why don't we make a start as Australians and stop being the biggest per capita producer of carbon emissions in the world? That's a bit frightening isn't it? Not bad old China or the US but good old Australia.
That's what I want for Christmas a sensible commitment from as many countries as we can get to stop our profligate use of resources and get on with starting change.
Just for the record this 1970s greenie finds himself stunned that he's beginning to think that nuclear power might be a way to go.

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