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Vested interests hold climate policy hostage, in USA and Australia

Turnbull climate 2 facedIn Australia and the US, sound climate policy is being held hostage by vested interests https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/07/in-australia-and-the-us-sound-climate-policy-is-being-held-hostage-by-vested-interests

We must shift away from a culture of politically motivated climate change denialism to an acceptance of the truly existential threat now facing humanity, Guardian,  and , 7 Feb 17           It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the world’s climate and environment. The inauguration of billionaire property developer and reality TV star Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has presaged a new Dark Age of climate politics.

In an opening fortnight of controversial executive orders, President Trump has decreed the expansion of major fossil fuel developments including the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, and the neutering of long-standing environmental protections. In addition, he and his leadership team have made it plain they intend to dismantle many of the Obama administration’s climate initiatives and withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. All this runs in direct counterpoint to the rapid decarbonisation required to avoid dangerous climate change.

For Australian fossil fuel interests, President Trump’s war on climate appears particularly opportune. Just last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his senior ministers floated the idea of government backing for new coal-fired power stations as part of the government’s response to Australia’s “energy security” and expressed reticence over the country’s Renewable Energy Target.

For a country that has nurtured world-leading innovations in solar photovoltaic and other renewable energy technologies and that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change – be it in the form of record heat, devastating floods, more widespread drought, coastal inundation from sea level rise combined with stronger tropical storms, or the demise of the Great Barrier Reef – doubling down on the traditional fossil fuel energy path is particularly short-sighted.

Like big tobacco before them, fossil fuel advocates have attacked mainstream climate science to confuse the public and policymakers about the reality and threat of human-caused climate change. As a result, we have seen a full-scale assault on a century and half of established science. For many climate scientists this has involved attacks from conservative politicians and rightwing lobby groups, orchestrated campaigns of harassment via mainstream and social media, challenges to job security and careers, and in some cases, death threats. Indeed, as recounted in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, one of us (Michael Mann) has been subject to all of those things……….https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/07/in-australia-and-the-us-sound-climate-policy-is-being-held-hostage-by-vested-interests

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February 8, 2017 - Posted by | general

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