I HATE to break the news this way, but Australia is not going to meet its target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.
Of course, the introduction of the carbon tax might make some difference, but I’m willing to stick my head out and call it right now. With only eight years left, carbon dioxide emissions have actually increased by 4 per cent on 2000 levels.
I guess that when the last remaining sweaty Australians are huddled together on Mount Kosciusko watching polar bear corpses float past, some of us may ask how this all came to pass.
The answer is simple: when it comes down to it, nobody really wanted to reduce emissions.
Of course, those who don’t believe humans are causing catastrophic climate change think there are better things we could do with our time and the Treasury’s estimated $750 billion needed in carbon offsets by 2050.
Then we have the Gillard government, which set the target. The chances it will be held accountable for it in three elections’ time are virtually nil and the government knows it. What’s more, when it comes down to a choice between buying carbon offsets or votes, what do you think future governments will do?
This would explain why the Gillard government doesn’t feel the need to do anything serious like, say, spending money on nuclear power reactors, building hydro-electric dams or restricting immigration to people from countries with higher levels of per capita emissions.
All in all, it’s difficult to believe we face a climate emergency when the government doesn’t behave like there is one.
Nor for that matter did the outcomes from the Durban climate conference suggest the participants thought the end of the world is nigh. But those are just government types, and no one expects them to believe what they say.
Nor does anyone expect scientists and public servants with mortgages to pay and conferences to attend in exotic locations to suddenly get serious about emissions reduction.
But the most interesting of the people who don’t really want to reduce carbon emissions are those who claim to be its most vociferous believers, the Greens.
Read on in The Australian