SO you go to see your doctor about an ingrown toenail. And the doctor says: “This is bad. We’re going to have to amputate your foot above the ankle.” Do you trust what your doctor says? Or do you ask for a second opinion?
Well, I know what I’d say: “Sounds to me like the remedy is worse than the problem. I mean, an ingrown toenail can be uncomfortable. But does it really justify your crippling me for life?”
“For sure,” the doctor might say if he’s anything like some of the doctors I know. (One’s called Garnaut; one Flannery; and there’s one who retired recently called Brown). “We’ve got to amputate on the precautionary principle. If we don’t you might get gangrene.”
“Ah, but what’s the likelihood of my getting gangrene?” you might ask.
To which Dr Garnaut/Brown/Flannery would no doubt reply: “What are you? Some kind of gangrene denier?”
Perhaps this scenario sounds vaguely familiar. It should because it’s just the one Australia is in right now. For “ingrown toenail” read “climate change.” For “amputation” read carbon tax. On July 1, you’re going to cripple your economy and cause yourselves huge pain for no gain whatsoever.
Even if Australia went further – and did the equivalent of cutting all its arms and legs off and stopped producing carbon dioxide completely – the result would be a decrease in world temperatures of 0.0154C by 2050. So why in heaven’s name are you making this futile gesture?
The answer is that the current debate on climate change (“global warming” as it used to be called before the world stopped warming in about 1989) has rather less to do with scientific rationalism and more with the dogma of religious faith.
Wind farms may be expensive, ugly and environmentally damaging but these bird-and bat-chomping eco-crucifixes serve as a powerful symbolic reminder of mankind’s determination to save the planet, even at the expense of ruining the landscape.
Carbon taxes and the replacement of bright, warm incandescent light bulbs with flickery, headache-inducing mercury-filled CFL bulbs are the equivalent of the hair shirts medieval penitents used to wear to atone for their sins.