Thursday, 20 December 2007

The scarcest resource humanity has is time

According to Ian Dunlop, a former senior executive in the international oil, coal and gas industries, who chaired the Australian Coal Association from 1987 to 1988 and is now deputy convener of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, "it is morally indefensible and unrealistic to expect the developed world can continue to emit at these levels, with the developing world absorbing the bulk of the climatic impact and being asked to constrain its own growth".

It his report, Davidson says, "It is now widely accepted that the solution to this conundrum is for each nation to agree to converge towards equal per-capita emissions".

[In Bali,] Australia was reluctant to sign up to intermediate targets before it receives the Garnaut report in May. If the Garnaut report is serious, it will attempt to tackle three issues: whether the science has moved on since the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made its 2007 report, the prospect that Australia will have to make cuts at the 40% end, given it is one of the highest emitters, and what policies have to be adopted to achieve the cuts.

In a speech at Sydney University this month, Dunlop said: "The political and corporate structures we have created render us uniquely ill-equipped to handle this emergency. Our ideological preoccupation with a market economy based on short-run profit maximisation is rapidly leading towards an uninhabitable planet. As inconvenient as it may be politically and corporately, conventional economic growth and rampant consumerism cannot continue."
He quotes Aristotle on what is known as the tragedy of the commons: "What is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest."
The article also discusses the advocacy for putting the science first [ahead of politics and economics]. Very interesting perspectives, but I don't believe the implied 'choice' is really there. Humanity can choose to ignore the data for now, but not indefinitely.

If the climate scientists and their associated 'growing consensus' are anywhere near the mark, the world is being driven to a very undesirable state. The laws of science are - in a sense - the vehicle through which our collective decisions will manifest themselves over the coming years. It is ultimate accountability.

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