ANDREW GLIKSON. A climate of betrayal

During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (George Orwell)

There was a time when kings and generals would fall on their sword when they were defeated, or when their faith in their god has collapsed. Nowadays leaders (so-called), switching opportunistic chameleon-like positions, would betray their primary duty, the defense of their people, in order to protect or advance their own careers.

Last week, in the midth of devastating drought and bushfires, as the UN climate summit in Madrid commenced and Greta Thunberg denounces world leaders’ “creative PR“, the leader of the opposition, supposed to be “from the left” and “someone born Labor”, but perhaps less than adhering to the “Greatest moral challenge of our generation”, found it an appropriate time to state support for the mining and export of coal.

Another example is that of a former Prime Minister who stated in 2010We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got…. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic“, but a few years later advocated “clean coal”. More recently he described climate change as a national security issue stating “We in Australia, more than many if not most countries, are facing the actual lived experience of climate change”.

The current PM, who made his views about fossil fuels clear by introducing a lump of coal to parliament (“Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you, it’s coal”), has lately revising his stand to: “accepts the link between climate change and an extended fire season”.

When it comes to the media, statement such as “there are no climate change deniers around I can assure you” are difficult to reconcile with the obfuscation and undermining of climate science in the right-wing media.

With exceptions, climate scientists are excluded from the mainstream media and from radio and television panel discussions, where the climate issue is debated by politicians, economists and journalists who all too often lack a thorough understanding of the consequences of physical processes in the Earth system.

It is clear the irreversible climate calamity, on which the future or lack of such depends, has become a political football to opportunistic interests. The powers that be, their corporate backers and media mouthpieces are not telling people that only abrupt cuts to carbon emissions, coupled with effective CO2 down-draw efforts, can prevent extinction of numerous species and of human societies.

Andrew Glikson  Earth and climate scientist  Australian National University

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4 Responses to ANDREW GLIKSON. A climate of betrayal

  1. Molecules are capable of absorbing radiant energy, becoming themselves internally energised in the process. They can then pass this energy on to any other molecules, substances or material objects that they come into contact with.
    A microwave oven works by subjecting its contents to microwave radiation, which internally energises any water molecules inside the oven, and they in turn pass this internal energy to all other molecules and substances in the oven: plates, foods, etc.
    SIMILARLY, CO2 molecules in the air capture radiant heat at specific frequencies or wavelengths, passing this absorbed heat to other molecules they come into contact with, thus heating ocean water, soils, rocks, trees, etc. Thus the reality of (anthropogenic) global warming, or AGW.
    Thus any AGW denialist who owns or uses a microwave oven is a hypocrite.

  2. Andrew Glikson says:

    Yes.
    The innocent/ignorant fundamentalists who kept knocking on our doors, and still do, prophesize the end of days, while their colleagues in positions of power at the helm of the empire and elsewhere help bring it about …

    • Allan Kessing says:

      I am reminded of an 80’s poster mash-up of Gone with the Wind showing Reagan & Thatcher – “She promised to follow him to the end of the earth and he promised to arrange it.”

  3. R. N. England says:

    Climate modelling, that predicted the drying out of SE and SW Australia as the atmospheric CO2 level rises, has proved correct. It was less obvious how sensitive to these changes was the Australian landscape’s tendency to burn.

    For those of the Judeo-Christian tradition, burning in hell would seem a highly appropriate punishment for the arrogant pursuit of self-interest (in the form of vast coal exports etc.).

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