24 October 2009

Bob Douglas on climate change

Following is the text of a letter from Professor Emeritus Bob Douglas, published in The Canberra Times, 22 October 2009:

With rare idiosyncratic exceptions, members of the global scientific community agree that we are facing a desperately serious climate crisis.

With rare idiosyncratic exceptions, members of the Australian Parliament are treating this scientific consensus as a joke. If the consensus is correct, we are staring at a human catastrophe.

If the world’s leaders cannot get their act together in Copenhagen, it seems certain that they will lock us into at least a 3 degree rise in global temperature, and much worse.

The actions needed to mitigate the problem are neither impossibly expensive nor technically beyond our reach. The problem is us.

We are letting our politicians lead us, lemming like over the cliff.

Key recommendations of Ross Garnaut’s review have been ignored, apparently in response to the needs of moneyed polluters.

Kevin Rudd’s proposed Carbon Reduction Pollution Scheme will not see Australian play its proportionate role.

I think we need a two-hour, televised debate between Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Bob Brown, and Garnaut, on Australia’s stance in Copenhagen.

After a public discussion of what is in our national interest, let the political negotiations on Australia’s CPRS commence. The seriousness of this issue demands it. As voters and parents, we are surely entitled to no less.

Bob Douglas


I have no problem with any of the above. My own views are set out in Climate change: a plague on both their houses, in which I note on the one hand that the Opposition is a refuge for climate change denialists, and so the only way the Opposition can find a flag around which everyone can rally is by finding that the Government’s proposals are too deeply flawed to be countenanced – no matter what those proposals might be, and on the other hand Senator Wong has been unravelling Professor Garnaut’s tightly reasoned policy framework from the moment she came to office – the moment she uttered the words “Well, the Garnaut Review will be just one input into the Government’s thinking”.

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