I don’t know why but it seems that old Labor war horses keep writing opinions that I tend to agree with The opinion piece by Gary Johns in today’s Australian is a good case in point, I have been saying loud and long that right or wrong that the science can not overcome the politics when it comes to climate change. I had to ask my correspondent JM many times if he thought that his “solution” could be made to happen and although he eventually claimed that it could, the fact that it took many attempts and that his admission was most grudging really suggests that his belief in the possibility of mitigation is at best window dressing and if he actually believes it in his heart of hearts I would be most surprised.
Anyway I commend the opinion piece that I quote below.
The further debate will have to debunk the old adage that delaying change will be more costly.
This adage is just plain wrong. New technologies will not be adopted unless they are cheaper than current technologies. The reason why politicians subsidise the most expensive low carbon options, like wind turbines and solar panels, is that people mistake low carbon for low cost abatement.
Also, these boutique non-solutions are not a huge budget cost (just a considerable waste of money).
Sure, there is a risk to the environment in waiting for the technology to catch up, but that won’t change the minds of several billion Chinese, Indians, Indonesians and South Americans.
These people are not in the same game as the West, they want to lift their standard of living, and they will not be assisting in carbon abatement.
If in future historians of public policy dig through the entrails of climate change they will find a fascinating combination of millenarianism, ego-driven scientists, business that preferred to use the environment as a sales device, a propensity by governments to allow NGOs to get too close to the policy process, a media that mistook stunts for debate, lying former politicians, and current politicians who wanted to ride the hero’s wave, retiring before their purported policies bore no fruit.
There is good science and there is good economics, they each need time to guide the way. The job of the politician in this debate is to buy time.
As I have been saying here for some time when the politics demonstrate that the solution can not be made to happen the time has come to learn to live with what is coming, because to do otherwise is to waste effort and treasure in a noble but futile exercise in climate piety.