Australia & Kyoto – we’re not that bad…plus Al Gore.

Given Australia actually gets to enjoy an increase in CO2 emmissions to 108%, thought i should find out some more facts to share – as if we are not party to the Kyoto treaty, why have any target?
To confirm, Australia did actually sign the Kyoto treaty, agreeing to the 108% target, however did not ratify as the Govt of the day (still in power), believed a clear path on developing countries, namely China and India needed to be included.
Another interesting fact is the reasons supporting our increase in emissions, which are strong migration, strong economic growth, reliance on coal and also our mining of cleaner (but still non-renewable) energy for developing countries;
“many of the greenhouse emissions arising in Australia help others to lower their emissions. For example, Australia’s recent success in concluding an LNG deal with China will mean that although Australia will emit around 1.5 million extra tonnes of carbon dioxide annually to produce the LNG, China will emit 7 million tonnes less than if it had used coal. The global atmosphere benefits, even though Australia’s emissions increase.”
See, we’re not such bad guys afterall.
In terms of the Al Gore movie – I still think far too much time wasted on Al Gore and not dealing or addressing the issues. The reality is that we are heating the planet – has Europe plans in place for the abscence of the gulf stream? where will food production need to go, and what type of crops should we be growing for the future? The last ice age was 11,000 years ago, we are clearly headed towards another. While the Canadians will be alright, they’re use to the cold ;-), the planet and mother nature is about to shake up the rest of us…..
On another thought, Jeremy made mention of the girl in the last class choosing not to have kids…..while I have a friend that has a similar bleak and pessimistic view on life, I raise (in my defence for having children) that it could be one of our children that invents cold fusion and solves all the problems!!!!! certainly, children that are raised with environmentally aware parents will be best placed and educated to make a difference, (either before or after the ice age).
PS I will respond to many of the postings, but an struggling with the sign in for the moment.
Cheers
Barry

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7 comments on “Australia & Kyoto – we’re not that bad…plus Al Gore.
  1. Eric Rhéaume says:

    I hear you Barry as Canada is in the same boat. We originally signed the Kyoto protocol but pulled out in April 07 because we didn’t believe we could meet the Protocol’s objectives in time (cut greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 6% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012 which is currently 30% above!!). To be more precise, we abandon Kyoto targets without leaving the protocol. According to our environment minister M John Bair, it is our previous government’s responsibility since they didn’t enforce the cutting of emissions. If Kyoto would have been put in place in 1997, we would have been ready. But in revenge, Canada’s new target is to cut emissions by 20% between now and 2020. For more information there is a good article published by BBC News at the following link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6600585.stm As for Al Gore, of course there was a lot of patriotism for Al Gore. It’s an American movie… where have you been for the last couple of decades?? No seriously I personally think, for talking about it many times with my uncle who knows quiet a bit about the subject, that it is a bit late. My uncle uses the comparison with a heat stroke. When you’re suffocating under the sun, at some point, your body shuts down and goes on reverse mode by cooling down and that’s it, you’re dead. The same is happening for the planet. Professor Jeremy Williams asked what we were sceptical about and for me, it’s the last part stating that Americans defined the problems and now everybody have time to act together by adding renewable substitute, alternate fuels, hybrid cars and so on… which will shave CO2 emission and we will be ok. That’s in a perfect world if we all act NOW. Everybody knows it won’t exactly be the case. Talking with Aldo and Martin in the bus tonight, we came up with another comparison: getting prepared to an exam… who does it a month before?? Nobody, except maybe the odd cases. Everybody does it at the last second because we feel the pressure. That’s human nature. It’s a bit simplistic compared to the process of curing the planet but I think you get the point. All we can do is delay the inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, I think by following the three principles of sustainability, we can go a long way but one day or the other, the planet will shut down and go on reverse mode: ice age. Please keep this blog going. I think it’s a very important topic and we need inputs from everybody.

  2. Barry says:

    Thanks Eric, interesting that Canada pulled out and Ireland are struggling to meet their own quota – although, even if all signatories to Kyoto did their part, it will still only lead to a 1% reduction in CO2, not the 70% required. I think Australia is also the first country (from next year) to phase out and ban incandescent light bulbs. Its small, but 90% of the power is converted to heat. Ordinary people want to do their part, it needs the political will, and this is sorely lacking around the world. The use of fossil fuels will continue – we need to enforce the green solutions to minimise the side effect – pumping CO2 into the ground, the use of algae to convert CO2 back into bio-diesel, there are solutions available but cost of implementation is preventing their early adoption. On Al Gore again, with the shameless self-promotion, perhaps he was intending to run for politics, so I can forgive him – but there is no time other than minimise the damage.
    Pr Jeremey ask what actions we will do……I actually took some ‘self-preservation’ action 4 years ago when I relocated the family from a beach-side suburb to the mountains (on some land with natural spring on property). I just can’t see us reversing what has started ….necessity is the mother of invention, but this message was talked about 40 years ago when a real difference could still have occurred…..too little, too late, and the bloddy environmentalists have a lot to answer for in my country with competing self-interests. I think we need to discuss further around a Girafe!!!!

  3. jeremy says:

    If you really want to make yourself feel like slashing your wrists, go and buy this. It’s actually brilliantly written, but I had to put down half way through because it’s so depressing. I got more optimistic before the end but, by the sound of it, it’s the type of book Eric’s uncle is likely to have read. I firmly believe we can change things because this is one ‘examination’ we can’t afford to fail. Ultimately, even those of us who tend to leave exam revison until the last minute will take early action. We did with the hole in the ozone layer, and mobilising allies to fight a war seems to be a breeze these days, so why not climate change?

  4. JM says:

    Guys… I can’t agree more with you…time to act has come and gone… we now need drastic measures! Although, I enjoyed the Gore movie today, I do agree that Americans can’t be seen as the White and Shining Knight saviour of the world…this is a world wide problem that must be addressed by the ENTIRE world. However, Mr. Gore is trying to engage more than 300 million people one person at a time… what has the current US administration done to fight GHG?
    I know my profession may resound a little too much in this message, and I apologies (I’m trying to tone it down a little and try to keep an open and academic mind…!), but there is no more grey area in this matter, it’s black or white and governments must get off their…. and act now! Policies must be changed, leadership must be displayed… no more political friends, ALL must get behind this movement – 70% is huge….our kids will be more or less 50 yrs old and no where to go in 2050, if we as current and future leaders in our respective countries don’t act.
    Unlike Eric, I cannot support our current Canadian government’s position in relations to Kyoto. Don’t get me wrong they have done good things both for our Armed Forces, and the RCMP for example in terms of budget increases in restoring our ability to do our respective work, but I’m not convince that their new Green plan will be better for the environment. Perhaps, the Liberals (former government) agreed to very strict targets and perhaps overly ambitious ones, not to mention without concrete actions afterwards (they too sat on their….), but the Canadian population must understand the severity of the situation; which the Gore movie tries to portray. Instead of spending money redesigning a new plan, I think the government would have been wiser to spend money on educating Canadians on the severity of the situation rather than come up with its own plan…again people/ politicians wanting to put their own spin on things in trying to be recognized in history books (not worth anything if we don’t have a decent earth to leave our children, and their children!!!!!) instead of following the lead of scientists and environmentalists…!
    As for Australians, please don’t think that the rest of the world think badly of the decision taken by the government of the day. However, they can’t act like 5 year olds…”I won’t sign if they don’t….” The Australian Prime Minister and his government must do what is right for the people of Australia and embark on the Kyoto band wagon and support the world’s fight. The power of the mass will conquer this problem not the devise of countries. I think that Kyoto, albeit maybe to aggressive in its targeting system, is a good place to start…we won’t achieve reduction of emissions if we don’t set stretched targets!!!!
    Having spend nearly an hour reading about the Australian problem today with my team, I will go to bed less stupid tonight…(thank you Jeremy…my wife will be happy 😉 I did not realize how critical the situation was in relations to drinking water. Wow…what a change management challenge…!
    Thoughts anyone!
    JM

  5. Angelina says:

    Just to add my 2 pennies worth of comments, I would like to add that the Canadian government has been sued in May of 2007 by an NGO called Friends of Earth for abandoning Kyoto targets:
    http://www.foei.org/en/campaigns/climate/kyoto-protocol/canada/view
    Although officially abandoned by the previous Environment Minister (Rona Ambrose), the commitments outlined in the Kyoto agreement (6% reductions from 1990 level of GHG emissions) are arguably surpassed by the current Conservative governemnt plans to tackle pollution. The new plan unveiled in April 2007 and called EcoAction (please read on at http://www.ecoaction.gc.ca/turning-virage/index-eng.cfm )calls for a 50% reduction in GHG emissions from industry by year 2015. This approach is based on inclusion of projected GDP growth and associated calculations of reduced rate of growth for the emissions. Unfortunately, the significance of political differentiation of one leader from the next one was so exaggerated that decisions were made to change plans, strategies and political statements with little regard to the issue at hand. Thankfully, all of the programs and policies offered by the government to the industry remained virtually the same (with changed names and colors on the web pages) to facilitate transition from the BAU model of operations towards a more sustainable ones.

  6. adam says:

    Scary thought, but positive aspect is that this very sense of doom will likely be our only real chance at saving this world (and us). Again, the good news is that I see global warming crisis bringing the people of the earth together at least for once…if not 4ever…it won’t be about North America and Europe and East Asia…etc.etc. which could prove to be one of the biggest human accomplishments ever.

  7. Barry says:

    Adam, it might become ‘1984’ with strong economic blocks controlling our consumption…the comment Jeremy showed on climate change, the worst failing of the market. I know you are a fan of the market, but perhaps we need to change the market – have govts (or sustaining businesses) take control of the market. Start placing a fixed number limit on the number of people the globe and each country can sustain. Australia has the highest OECD birth rate because babies are encouraged (1 for dad, 1 for mum, 1 for country!!!) with subsidies. Perhaps this needs to be changed – maybe a baby tax. The number of farm animals each countries enviornment can sustain. Scientific input in terms of the crops grown and designed, rather than illetrate farmers with no concept of the damage they are doing and no appreciation of what bio-diversity is.
    C’mon, give me your best response!!!!!

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