Climate change: heat is on to find solutions

January 20, 2014
Record hot days are becoming the great Australian blight and we can’t ignore the changing conditions, writes Nicholas Stuart.

It’s really no surprise it has been hot. That’s summer. What is significant is the way it brings home the reality of climate change. For anyone unconcerned about the extreme urgency of dealing with this crisis, I suggest you go to the television guide for exciting revelations about the latest series of Downton Abbey.

Ah, that’s better. It’s not wise to discuss grown-up concepts in front of those who can’t grasp reality. Of course, this shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of Labor’s so-called “answer”. The idea that countries, well, politicians, would come together and accept necessary slashing of carbon emissions was always a joke. The reason is obvious. The proposed solutions depend on self-sacrifice, but everyone was too busy measuring what they were forgoing to focus on the need to tackle the problem.

The Labor government made the mistake of pandering to those who believed nobody needed to change their behaviour. Neither Kevin Rudd nor Julia Gillard told the truth; both pretended global agreement was possible and could be achieved without ruffling a single hair on any voter’s head.

And the biggest stupidity of all – the most outrageous, egregious, mind-boggling confirmation that the party had become focused on dealing with the political problem rather than the real one as the world burned – was the suggestion that our coal exports would somehow be accounted for by China. People there were expected to accept the need to diminish their own living standards so that ours could remain untouched.

Australia couldn’t come together over this issue: what chance was there that the world would agree to take action?

Take something as simple as the damage to the environment by aeroplane emissions. If some individuals refuse to limit a seemingly insatiable desire to jet about the country, why should anyone else?…