Tony Abbott’s climate views are wrong
Former Australia prime minister Tony Abbott early this week in a speech at Global Warming Policy Foundation titled “Daring to Doubt” discredited climate change and rubbished those of us who believe climate change is not a hoax, Abbot termed the so called green ideology as a symptom of the decline of western civilization and described climate change as a sinister new religion replacing Christianity in many western societies. When he became premier, I supported him on this blog because some of his policies were absolutely life changing and long overdue but I disagree with him on climate change, its not a religion, first of all I’m not religious and I’ve never been and although not everything experts say on climate change is correct, facts are there even for buffoons to see.Climate change is rightly an issue that affects all countries including Australia. Now that Australia has taken several important steps to prevent the dangers of fires, it is vital that likes of Abbot move beyond giving speeches and begin supporting its efforts. Though approaches may differ, there is a need to recognize that stakeholders are working towards the same goal and that there are significant areas of overlap to work on.Climate change is a concrete reality that amplifies natural disasters as we have seen with hurricanes that have hit Caribbean countries and mainland US in recent weeks. As a result of greenhouse gas emissions, global warming leads to a rise of sea level and threatens millions of people living in the coastal areas. As with hurricanes, poor people are particularly vulnerable. The sea level rise threatens millions of people around the world who live less than 10 meters above the sea level.Abbot need to be reminded that climate change threatens to exacerbate the hydro-meteorological risks such as recurring floods and droughts. Prolonged drought in turn is projected to worsen the impacts of forest fires like Australians witnessed this year.All societies including Australia are affected by climate change, although in different ways. The poorest will be most affected as we have seen in Puerto Rico, experts have shown that household incomes decrease as temperature increases, as warming drastically reduces crop yields. In Africa for example, scientists recently published a report that shows rainfall patterns are becoming more and more unpredictable. The dry season could get much longer and drier, which would aggravate the haze pollution problem and threaten food security.There is also evidence that link deforestation, climate change and health together. Warmer temperatures and more intense rainfalls are favorable conditions for the proliferation of mosquitoes bearing the disease that kills more than a million people worldwide annually.Abbot notably said climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia, that have forgotten the scriptures about man created ‘in the image and likeness of God’ and charged with ‘subduing the earth and all its creatures’ could have made such a religion out of it. He continued claiming we should beware the pronouncement, ‘the science is settled’. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought police, down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that ’99 per cent of scientists believe’, as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts. This is where my disagreement with Abbot comes in, climate change is creating economic losses and more importantly and more tragically, human losses. If nothing is done, the damage caused by climate disturbances will cost 20 times as much as the cost of effectively fighting greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change will have and is having direct consequences on economic growth and social peace and Abbot need to appreciate such simple facts.Abbot added that the growing evidence that records have been adjusted, that the impact of urban heat islands has been downplayed, and that data sets have been slanted in order to fit the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming does not make it false, but it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it.
Abbot also concludes that contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent. According to Abbot, there’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, which is a plant food after all, are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about doing the right thing. Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause. Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect, Abbot noted. Can we all remind Abbot that the development of a green economy is not a luxury that only rich countries like Australia can afford and his comparison of 1800s and 2100s is utterly wrong. I will give an example why the two can’t be compared, In 1800 no single country had a life expectancy over 40 but nowadays its over 80 in highly developed countries like Australia. In 1820, 95% of the Australia’s population lived in extreme poverty and today less than 8% of Australians do. In 1800 global level OF world population was 1 billion and now we are over 7 billion. According to historic records your blogger has, in 1800, Australians worked over 80 hours per week to survive and nowadays most people work less than 35 hours per week with a much better quality of life that those who live two centuries ago could only envy. Therefore, Abbot should never compare then and now.Many experts have stressed that a green economy is a source of employment and growth, and reduces poverty. To achieve this, innovative technologies must be developed in different fields such as renewable energies and public transport, and younger generations must be trained on how to use these new technologies and for Abbot to say it is unsurprisingly, the recipients of climate change subsidies and climate change research grants think action is very urgent indeed. As for the general public, of course saving the planet counts until the bills come in and then the humbug detector is switched on, is awful to say the least.Australian companies are ready to implement technology transfers in multiple sectors such as energy, public transport and natural resources management and Abbot should not fight such efforts. Australian training and research institutions have worked for several years to develop joint research programs with many global research centers and universities, water management, smart agriculture, natural risks prevention and mitigation, costal protection, and so forth.For Abbot to even contemplate saying that the only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first, to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up. After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty as well as a political death wish is unfortunate from such a political figure.Those who call it global warming, climate disruption or climate change, the fact is the vast majority of the climate challenge is still ahead of us, Australia like the rest of the World can still avoid the worst, if we take the right actions right now and not listen to people like Abbot and other climate change deniers.