Climate change needs swift action not delaying tactics on pricing carbon emissions.

In spite of what some are witnessing with their own eyes there are still many who are climate change skeptics.  In Australia this week the Coalition opposition is moving away from the bipartisan approach it took to the elections last year supporting the effort to cut greenhouse gases and now some frontbenchers are pushing for a delay in the introduction of emissions trading.

In 1988 the prospect of climate change becoming a reality first hit the headlines when James Hansen, a climate scientist at NASA, told the world that he was “99%” certain that humans were already warming the climate. This week he argued that “If we don’t begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next several years, and really on a very different course, then we are in trouble.” Dr Hansen was speaking in New York at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which he has directed since 1981.

This is some of what he had to say  in a guest opinion piece written by James Hansen for the Worldwatch Institute

“The difference (between then and now)is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb. The next President and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation.

Otherwise, it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.

Changes needed to preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed, are clear. But the changes have been blocked by special interests, focused on short-term profits, who hold sway in Washington and other capitals.”

Read the whole piece from the link here.

In this interesting piece Hansen argues that “while international recognition of global warming was swift, actions have faltered. The United States refused to place limits on its emissions, and developing countries such as China and India rapidly increased their emissions.”

This seems to hold true for Australia as well, it is time to stop the vacillating and it is not time to falter.  The Coalition now seeks to thwart the government’s efforts to bring in the emissions trading scheme, putting in jeopardy the timetable for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions.

The introduction of an emissions trading scheme will be painful but it will also drive energy efficiency and innovation to find cheaper alternatives.  It is time for the users of polluting energies to be held to account for the damage that they are doing and the impact that it is having in other parts of the globe.

If people of the Pacific islands are becoming climate change refugees surely taking responsibility for the damage that our energy consumption is doing is a small price to pay by comparison.


The shallow saline Don Juan Pond is located in the Wright Valley, Victoria Land. A new mineral, calcium chloride hexahydrate (also known as Antarcticite) was discovered in the pond in the early 1960s.

Wright Valley.

Photograph by: Glen Snyder, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: December 8, 2005.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Thursday, 26 June, 2008.

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