Shopping Cart


PC: Post-Copenhagen and the Poor

Thursday, 8 April 2010  | Gordon Preece, Ethos Director

Meteorologist Dr Mick Pope gave a succinct summary of the scientific evidence for global warming due to human C02 production since the Industrial Revolution in the mid 19th century. It is no new-fangled PC phenomenon. For Pope, if humanly caused global warming is not happening then smoking does not cause cancer. The East Anglia email scandal was about a miniscule number of emails and had been magnified out of all proportion to cast a fog of doubt on human induced global warming just as the smoking lobby had sought for decades to cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer. Unfortunately people’s ignorance was being taken advantage of.

Frontier economics’ Amar Breckenridge, a regular at climate conferences and involved in the pricing of Malcolm Turnbull’s ill-fated ETS plan gave an insider’s look into the political process. He regards the presence of 40,000 activists at Copenhagen as counter-productive. It would be fairer to have representatives of each country limited to the Maldives 10, rather than the US having 300. Over-activism fails to recognise that much of the real work is done before the conference, advisers come with their positions largely worked out. It is then mainly a matter for fine-tuning. Nonetheless, he argued that the ‘failure’ of Copenhagen was a product of excessive expectations and that it was in fact another limited step along the road.

Tim Costello agreed with Amar’s relatively positive perspective of some progress at Copenhagen, as Copenhagen had been followed up by a hundred and more nations signing on to targets and moving the process forward. This is despite the Chinese stone-walling and ignoring Obama and the US, the other biggest polluter on the planet, though Australia is 2nd highest per capita to the US.

The problem in Australia is that we have gone backwards since 2007 when there was bipartisan support for an Emissions Trading Scheme in John Howard’s time. Kevin Rudd, who Costello likes, nonetheless has not done a good job of selling the ETS in understandable terms.

Costello spoke sadly of the 40% shift of funds in the aid community from longer-term development work to emergency climate-related disasters. He cited WV’s striking ad of an African grandmother called Ekomol ‘witnessing changes to her environment that she doesn’t understand. She recalls a time when “We had milk. We had meat.” But her reality today is one of survival day by day with her children and grandchildren in impoverished and drought-stricken northern Kenya. That’s why World Vision seeks to kill two birds with one stone – climate change and global poverty - with its One Earth campaign, despite Andrew Bolt’s scurrilous accusations that they have moved away from caring for children. For Costello, World Vision’s core business is that of Jesus’ Nazareth sermon (Lk 4) to bring good news to the poor and liberty to the captive. Climate change prevention is a crucial part of that.

Got something to add?

  • Your Comment


Online Resources

subscribe to engage.mail

follow us

Latest Articles