As Bernard Keane reports in today’s Crikey edition, yesterday’s Treasury ETS modelling includes a sobering reference scenario that paints a picture of the world we might find at the end of the century if nothing is done to curb climate change. The result would be close to apocalyptic, especially in Australia, a continent, says Keane, at “the bleeding edge” of the damage that might be done by rising temperatures.
Australia has come quite a long way since the federal election last year. We now acknowledge the existence of a climate problem for one thing, never mind the continuing resistance shown by some on both sides of politics and the conservative commentariat to something that is a long way beyond being an accepted wisdom. The denialists look increasingly like an idiot fringe, and it’s both sobering and a revelation of how far we’ve come, to think that six months ago they represented an official government response that had stood for a decade.
Late on the day that Treasury made its reckoning public, we find the desk lamp still burning in the paper-crowded and chaotic study of Andrew Bolt, denialism’s leading, yellowed, fly-specked, but still flickering, light.
October 31, 2008 12:00am
Treasurer Wayne Swan had to get out of his woollies yesterday before telling us the world really was warming — and we must pay.
You see, just days before he stood in Canberra, waving a Treasury document he claimed would help stop us heating to hell, his own family had shivered through a day that should make him finally wonder if there really is any global warming.
Brisbane, his home town, had just endured its coldest October morning in 32 years, yet here was Swan telling us to spend billions in the belief the planet was cooking instead.
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It’s something of a comfort, a reminder of the world we left behind. Bolt writing away at midnight, oblivious to globally accepted, and slowly catastrophic reality, the best counter argument that he can offer to a world of science being a cold snap in Brisbane. Our very own boiling frog.