Nov 9, 2012

Australia signs up to lame duck climate deal — with good reason

Australia is to sign on to the Son of Kyoto, a dummy UN protocol which aims to get the world back on track on climate change. Is this a good idea, and what does it mean for the carbon price?

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Australia has today announced it will sign up to a lame duck international treaty to tackle climate change. But a lame duck is, after all, better than no duck at all.

The world’s great hope on restraining global warming is the UN’s Kyoto Protocol (KP), which expires in less than two months. It was supposed to be replaced by a tougher, broader treaty, but due to underwhelming interest from most countries, a decision has been made to limp along with a Son of Kyoto.

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7 thoughts on “Australia signs up to lame duck climate deal — with good reason

  1. Ian

    All too little, too late. Unfortunately its all just a game now. My take on the whole thing is a big shrug. It’s hopelessly inadequate and our kids and grand kids are left now with the very real prospect (likelihood I would say) of a chaotic and hopeless future characterized by ongoing struggles for diminishing resources in the face of ever increasing climatic disasters.

    Looking back on it now I think 911 was the first major step down the road to chaos. Copenhagen was the second and its the neoconservative capitalist system that has been an ongoing cause of our problems and presented the major stumbling block to the more sustainable and equitable future we might have hoped for.

    Meanwhile the population of the world keeps going up and up with little effort to address that issue either. How are all these billions going to cope in a chaotic world?

  2. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    It’s OK Ian, we’ll be alright. If anyone thinks there’s nothing being done about it why don’t we just pay attention to the nearest place to our homes where a slightly rising sea level is soon going to require shoreline protection – seawalls etc. Let the Americans worry about their shorelines – what are we doing in our local area about our local shorelines and river mouths? In local government after local government, ratepayers are faced with potentially staggering costs which are just assumed will be covered by federal and state governments. In many places, rockwalls for dune and shoreline protection will ruin the locale in so many ways that wind farms will seem like trivialities in comparison.
    For most people the debate seems out of reach and yet for people who live near the coast it should be held up right in our faces. Coastline protection and the necessary accompanying land and street -scaping is incredibly intrusive, expensive and maintenance demanding. Decisions about it are in our hands.

  3. Ian

    Adaptation is okay Hugh. In fact it will be a survival necessity in the future but we will have to adapt to more than our coastlines being inundated. As the hordes of Bangladesh, the Maldives, Indo-China begin their inundation of our northern coastlines we will have to do more than chuck a few sand bags at the problem if we are to contain that flood. Will Nauru be big enough to contain them all or will it already be filled with poor refugees who have fled their war-torn homelands in search of somewhere… anywhere for a less hopeless resistance?

    I’m letting my imagination run away with me. Or am I?

  4. John Bennetts

    Hugh, adaptation includes adaptation to:
    Changing water regimes (more droughts, more floods, less annual rainfall in many parts of Oz),
    Warmer oceans (including collapse of most life forms within them and certainly more than simply coral reefs),
    Stronger cyclones and wildfires,
    Resource wars (probable but I certainly hope not), and
    Much more besides.

    I don’t pretend that this list is complete or even that it is accurate – it is off the top of my head yet includes some of the things that worry me, right or wrong.

    My guess is that before my life is at an end, I will witness stark, undeniable occurrances of at least some of these. Puny sea walls seem to me to be addressing one of the lesser symptoms of a truly huge problem.

    Why aren’t the rich nations, including Australia, doing much more right now about the causes? To say that others are not doing the right thing is a child’s argument on the same level as a 4-year old’s attempt at justifying taking something which is not his by saying that someone else did likewise.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, as we all heard at our mothers’ knees.

  5. Ian

    Excuse me, I meant to say existence not resistance (last word, 2nd last paragraph).

    John, it’s all very sad and it’s hard to know what to do. So few people concern themselves with the problem and even fewer are prepared to do anything about it.

  6. Sanjay

    If Indonesia gets paid not to cut down their forrests and then goes and cuts down the same forrest maybe we should give the money to Ausaid and bypass the middle men

  7. Ian

    I don’t know much about Ausaid but I instinctively am inclined not to fully trust them to do the best thing with their money. I would be inclined to rather give it to Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth who care and are not government sponsored.

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