Global warming is serious, largely due to global industrial activities, and the world is close to (if not already past) a tipping point that will involve very unpleasant consequences. Oh, and Tim Flannery is Australian of the Year. Just a few of the many contributions from today’s press follow – firm evidence that the debate has reached a tipping point:

  • “It’s the scientific effort, and the government help it gets, that is likely to be Australia’s most influential contribution to tackling climate change, Dr Love says. Australia’s profile means nations such as Japan, China and India watch to see what it does: action ‘carries a bigger message than what we say’.”
  • “Speaking during a whirlwind tour of water infrastructure in NSW and Victoria, Mr Turnbull said until the Labor states relinquished control of the drought-hit Murray-Darling Basin rivers they would not be fixed.”
  • “The US wants the world’s scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming … It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be “important insurance” against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday).”
  • And from the weekend press, expert reader of the public mood, Hugh McKay, says: “The environment tops the list. Not since the late 80s has there been such widespread openness to the possibility that the planet is sending us a message. A drought that seriously threatens the water supplies of our capital cities, bushfires that rage out of control for months and have seasoned experts shaking their heads, and the scary prospect of global warming all suggest there’s an issue here we can’t ignore.”

McKay is indeed correct – a November 2006 Morgan Poll found that, according to Australians aged 14 and over, the most important priority for the leaders of the world was “protecting the environment”.

This is a dramatic change when compared with a similar survey conducted two years prior – in November of 2004, the most important priority for Australians was seen to be the “war on terrorism”, with the environment coming in third. Now, only 9% of Australians believe the “war on terrorism” to be the most important priority, and a massive 22% believe the environment to be the leading issue.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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