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Australia – endangered by Climate Change, and by Deniers

Why do climate deniers hold sway in Australia? The Guardian 1 Dec 09 If Australia does not silence its sceptics and reduce its emissions there is a real risk of the nation becoming uninhabitable 

Australia is the hottest and driest continent on Earth. Parts have been embroiled in record drought for the past decade, leaving reservoirs empty and agriculture decimated. Things got so bad last week that thousands of camels besieged a small town in the Northern Territory in search of water. Even the “ships of the desert” couldn’t cope.

Yet, while many Aussies embrace a love of the outdoors both in body and spirit, something in the frontier ethic of the “lucky country” still leads some to peer at the horizon and declare: “Mate, we don’t believe in climate change.” Maybe they have been out in the sun too long, for the country is living on the edge.

Aussie scientists were among the first to warn about global warming. Back in 1988,……………..

But Australia also has a history of climate denial. Twelve years ago at the Kyoto climate negotiations, other rich nations promised cuts in carbon emissions. But Australia won permission to increase its emissions by 8%. And even that wasn’t good enough for the prime minister John Howard, who eventually pulled out of the Kyoto protocol with George W Bush.

Recently, the Labour prime minister Kevin Rudd rejoined Kyoto. But the sceptics are unrepentant. The Aussie geologist Ian Plimer is the latest international pin-up among climate sceptics.

Why do the deniers hold such sway? For one thing, Australians have the highest per capita carbon emissions of any major developed country thanks to its sprawling suburbs and heavy coal use. According to figures submitted by Canberra to the UN, Australia’s emissions from burning fossil fuel have risen by 30% from 1990 to 2007 – more even than the US.

Also, Australia is by some way the world’s largest exporter of coal, the world’s dirtiest fuel. They are the boys with the black stuff……………
whatever happens in Copenhagen this month, Australia’s climate policy will still be in a mess. Either the world adopts tough emissions cuts – in which case demand for Australian coal will shrink and the country will face painful economic reforms to cut its soaring domestic emissions. Or the world fails to come up with tough emissions cuts – in which case, say its scientists, there is a real risk of the entire nation becoming uninhabitable.

Why do climate deniers hold sway in Australia? | Fred Pearce | Environment | guardian.co.uk

December 3, 2009 - Posted by | 1, climate change | , , , ,

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