ALP climate policy: from the “great moral challenge” to conservative-lite

Apr 4, 2021

Deputy ALP leader Richard Marles, seem to studiously avoid any mention of the need for massive action order to avoid a rise towards +4 degree climate warming despite promoting science.

There appears to be no practical way to avoid a rise toward +4 degrees Celsius, except for CO2 down-draw (sequestration) on a large scale, much sooner than 2050, at least neutralizing current emissions, requiring trillions of dollars and a diversion of funds from the military-industrial complex and future wars toward the protection of life on Earth.

On 24 March Richard Marles, deputy leader of the ALP opposition, expressing enthusiasm for the search for life traces in space, stated: “The Square Kilometer Array telescope will illuminate the heavens in an unprecedented way … we will have the first proof of life beyond earth. This will be a profound moment in human existence.”

Referring to “science” some 27 times, despite the evidence by climate science for global temperatures likely to reach some 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century, with disastrous consequences, the talk did not refer to climate change even once.

Conceived by adventurer billionaires, space engineers and the popular media, including the ABC (Catalyst: Mars-Our Second Home?), planetary travel and space colonization have become a panacea for some, an escape from the realities of dangerous global warming and potential nuclear calamity. However, space colonization hardly takes into account human physiology and psychology, evolved under unique terrestrial gravity, atmospheric, radiative and micro-biotic conditions.

By contrast, responsible scientists such as those associated with the “Council for the Human Future”, including Paul Ehrlich, have predicted the current environmental catastrophe and consequent mass extinctions with great accuracy.

Not too much support can be expected from major political parties. The almost religious adherence of “conservatives” to fossil fuels pollution has delayed attempts at mitigation of greenhouse gases by almost 40 years. Despite their constant references to science, it is far from clear to what extent the major parties, including the ALP, have been consulting climate science. Are they aware whether they are aware that according to the IPCC, even this century, global temperature rise toward +4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would render large parts of the continents uninhabitable?

Australia produced around 510 million tonnes (Mt) of coal in 2017/18. Coupled with current and planned new coal mines and new gas fields in ALP-held states, in QueenslandWestern Australia and the Northern Territory, it hardly looks as if ALP governments, State or Federal, are going to curtail the fossil fuel exports, which constitute some 75 per cent of production.

Proposed reductions in carbon emissions ignore the fact that under the present high levels of greenhouse gases (416.75 ppm CO2):

(1) Hydrocarbon producing countries, including Australia, appear to have no plan to curtail coal and gas exports, with the produced greenhouse gases dispersed worldwide, and;

(2) under amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean, the rise in greenhouse gases is bound to continue to heat the land, atmosphere and oceans.

Ross Garnaut’s view of the future in terms of “Australia renewable power-house” is confronted by the rising development and export of fossil fuels, which contributes to a global rise of greenhouse gases at a rate of 2.41 ppm per year, an unprecedented rate since the 66 million-year-old K-T asteroid impact and mass extinction event.

Sadly, inherent in the issue is the fatal untruths propagated by politicians and their mouthpieces. There appears to be no practical way to avoid a rise toward +4 degrees Celsius, except for CO2 down-draw (sequestration) on a large scale, much sooner than 2050, at least neutralizing current emissions, requiring trillions of dollars and a diversion of funds from the military-industrial complex and future wars toward the protection of life on Earth.

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