Gideon Polya, “Greed versus Science. Climate Racist Australia threatens Humanity and Biosphere”, MWC News, submitted 24 August 2009.
Greed versus Science. Climate Racist Australia threatens Humanity and Biosphere
Politicians sometimes state their policy goals in quantitative terms and responsible scientists are then obliged to inform the public about what those policies will actually mean. This is particularly vital in relation to climate change that now acutely threatens the planet.
Below are several explicit statements relating to the climate change policy of the current Australian Labor Federal Government that was elected in November 2007 and which is headed by PM Kevin Rudd. Each statement is followed by authoritatively-sourced scientific analysis of the actual implications for the Planet.
Before reading further, it is useful to know that Australia is the world-leading coal exporter, a world leading exporter of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and uranium, and is a world leader in annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. Thus, as of 2008, “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) was 0.9 (Bangladesh), 1.5 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included). [1, 2].
In assessing the culpability of individual Australians in man-made climate change, it is also important to know that 90% of Australians vote for either the pro-coal, pro-war Liberal-National Party Coalition or the pro-coal, pro-war Australian Labor Party (collectively known as the Lib-Labs) and about 10% vote for the pro-environment, anti-coal, anti-war Australian Greens.
1. Kevin Rudd speech, 30 May 2007: “An effective emissions trading scheme must effectively reduce emissions. Such a scheme must stop further growth in Australia’s emissions and set Australia on a path to reduce emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 – the minimum required to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.” .
Scientific analysis of this apparently earnest and innocuous statement.
Reducing Australia’s 2000 Domestic emissions 60% by 2020 would mean 2050 domestic emissions of 0.6 x 535.3 million tonnes CO2-e (CO2-equiv; GHG pollution including CO2, methane and nitrous oxide (N2O) and expressed in terms of CO2 equivalents) = 321.2 Mt CO2-e (million tonnes CO2-e). However Australia’s projected Exported GHG pollution in 2050 will be 1,318.2 t CO2-e (tonnes CO2-e). According to the UN Population Division Australia’s projected population in 2050 will be 28.0 million. .
Accordingly, the Australian Labor projection is for a 2050 annual per capita Domestic GHG pollution of 321.2 MtCO2-e/28 million people = 11.5 tonnes CO2-e per person per year - roughly 2 times the current value for China, 5 times that of India, 8 times that of Pakistan and 13 times that of Bangladesh.
However Australia’s projected Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2050 will be (321.2 + 1,318.2) Mt CO2–e/28 million people = 58.6 tonnes CO2-e per person per year, 8.5% greater than its current values and 10 times the present annual per capita GHG pollution of China, 27 times that of India, 39 times that of Pakistan and 65 times that of Bangladesh.
Pro-coal, pro-pollution Australia is essentially committed to business-as–usual (BAU) in the face of the climate emergency and to maintaining its world-leading per capita GHG pollution position.
In stark contrast, the Indian PM Manmohan Singh has pledged that India’s per capita CO2 emissions (already one of the World’s lowest) will never exceed the average for Developing Countries.
2. According to Ecogeneration: “In Rudd’s 14 November 2007 clean energy R&D announcement his press release declared, “Under a Rudd Labor Government, emissions will go down”. Work by the IPCC suggests that if we are to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at between 450 and 550 parts per million (which Labor has acknowledged as a necessary goal) [corresponding to about 390-480 ppm CO2 with atmospheric CO2 concentration currently increasing at 2 ppm per year], wealthy developed countries such as Australia must begin reducing their annual emissions almost immediately. Based on Labor’s long term emissions target and past statements there is little room for them to adopt a 2020 emissions target that would involve emissions being higher than they are today. Indeed the science would suggest they need to set a 2020 target well below current emission levels.” .
Scientific analysis of these Australian Labor targets.
The Rudd Labor Australian Government pledge of 450-550 CO2-e means a minimum atmospheric CO2 concentration of over 400 ppm CO2 within 5 years with this rising to about 500 ppm. What do leading scientists say about these levels of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere?
According to Australian National University paleoclimate and earth scientist Dr Andrew Glikson: “The continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has already added some 305 GtC to the atmosphere together with land clearing and animal-emitted methane. This raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date, leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2–3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres.” .
According to top US climate scientist Dr James Hansen and colleagues (2008): “Stabilization of Arctic sea ice cover requires, to first approximation, restoration of planetary energy balance. Climate models driven by known forcings yield a present planetary energy imbalance of +0.5-1 W/m2. Observed heat increase in the upper 700 m of the ocean confirms the planetary energy imbalance, but observations of the entire ocean are needed for quantification. CO2 amount must be reduced to 325-355 ppm to increase outgoing flux 0.5-1 W/m2, if other forcings are unchanged. A further imbalance reduction, and thus CO2 ~300-325 ppm, may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago.” .
Top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock FRS has stated the following of the consequences of an atmospheric CO2 concentration of over 500 ppm: “In Chapter 1 I describe a simple model where the sensitive part of the Earth system is the ocean; as it warms, so the area of the sea that can support the growth of algae grows smaller as it is driven ever closer to the poles, until algal growth ceases. The discontinuity comes because algae in the ocean both pump down carbon dioxide [by photosynthesis] and produce clouds [through cloud-seeding dimethyl sulphide production]. (Algae floating in the ocean actively remove carbon dioxide from the air and use it for growth; we call the process “pumping down” to distinguish it from the passive and reversible removal of carbon dioxide as it dissolves in rain or sea water). The threshold for the failure of the algae is about 500 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, about the same as it is for Greenland’s unstoppable melting.” .
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (a top world expert on climate change and coral, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), re 450 ppm CO2, 2007: “ What we find out is that the threat is much closer than we thought in the past, and in fact the magic number may be 450. When I say '450'; 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide and we lose them … Lose coral reefs. If you look around Australia today, in fact the world, you find that coral reefs only prosper when you've got a certain amount of carbonate ions in the water. The level at which the carbonate ion drops below that level is when you've got 450 parts per million, and of course we know that we haven't actually had that concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for possibly 20 million years, so this does make sense. So once we've identified this number, I get the feeling that our politicians, even with their best intentions in Bali, are still flailing around trying to identify the target. And I think that everything, and this goes for not only coral reefs but for rainforest, for the breakdown of the Greenland ice sheet and all of these other issues, 450 is going to be what we must at all costs aim for.” .
The Australian Labor Government is true to its pre-election promises and is still committed to “60% off 2000 domestic GHG pollution by 2050” and a target for an atmospheric GHG concentration of about 450-550 ppm (this corresponding to about 390-480 ppm CO2 with atmospheric CO2 concentration currently increasing at 2 ppm per year). In nearly 2 years in office, the pro-coal Rudd Labor Government has effectively done nothing to tackle climate change and in a further horrible reality has almost brought the Australian renewable energy industry to the point of collapse.
As outlined above, the Australian Labor Government is committed to polices that will mean an increase in Australia’s already world leading annual per capita domestic and exported GHG pollution from 54 tonnes CO2-e per person per year to 59 tonnes CO2-e per person per year. What does this mean in terms of “all men are created equal”?
Back in 1901, Australia’s first PM, racist Edmund Barton, declared that “The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of an Englishman and the Chinaman.” .
In 1947 the racist Labor Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, notoriously declared that “Two Wongs do not make a White.” .
Now, in the 21st century, the Australian Labor Federal Government is committed to policy targets that effectively state in relation to permissible per capita GHG pollution that 10 Chinese, 27 Indians, 39 Pakistanis or 65 Bangladeshis are not equivalent to one White Australian.
Further, the Australian Labor Federal Government policy goes well beyond the mere climate racism of “65 Bangladeshis do not equal one White Australian” to what must be described as climate genocide, ecocide and terracide. Thus the atmospheric GHG targets of the Australian Labor Federal Government (generally supported by the conservative Opposition and hence by the 90% of Australians who vote for the Lib-Labs) mean the destruction of Australian and World coral reefs, destruction of the Greenland ice sheet, massive destruction of the phytoplankton of the Oceans together with much of the ocean food chain as well as cloud seeding.
Climate racist, climate criminal Australia is overwhelmingly committed to destruction of much of Humanity and the biosphere in the interests of short-term private gain of Australian- and foreign-owned corporate interests who generously fund the egregiously corrupt, dishonest and racist Australian Labor Party (aka the Apartheid Labor Party).
Of course, Australia is not the only climate criminal First World country – it is simply the worst of the OECD climate criminals. Much of what is said above applies also to the other First World countries. Indeed the G8 meeting at L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009 was a comprehensive failure that committed the First World to a policy of unspoken climate genocide. Thus, according to top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock FRS, fewer than 1 billion people will survive this century, this corresponding to the avoidable death this century of 10 billion non-Europeans, with this holocaust including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims (a Muslim Holocaust 500 times bigger than the 5-6 million victim WW2 Jewish Holocaust), 2 billion Indians (more than the 1.8 billion victim Indian Holocaust under the racist British, 1757-1947) , 0.3 billion Bangladeshis (100 times more than the 3 million victim Bengali Holocaust under the US-backed Pakistan Army in 1971) and 0.3 billion Pakistanis. .
What can decent people (including decent Australians) do to protect themselves, their loved ones, Humanity and the very biosphere of Planet Earth from the climate racist, climate criminal, pro-coal Australian Libs-Labs?
Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Decent people must urgently act by (a) informing others about the worsening, Australia-lead climate genocide and (b) apply sanctions, boycotts, green tariffs, reparations demands and criminal prosecutions to bring to heel all of the climate criminals, most notably climate racist White Australia, and its climate criminal Anglo-American associates.
Put bluntly, if you avoidably buy goods or services from climate racist, climate criminal Apartheid Australia then you become complicit in the worsening climate genocide, ecocide and terracide. Would you buy soap made in Auschwitz?
. Wikipedia, “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita .
. Yarra Valley Climate Action Group, “Australia’s “5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 2020” endangers Australia, Humanity and the Biosphere“: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/australia-s-5-off-2000-ghg-pollution-by-2020-endangers-australia-humanity-and-biosphere .
. Ecogeneration, “Federal Election. Outcomes for the clean energy sector”, January-February, 2008: http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/the_federal_election_-_outcomes_for_the_clean_energy_sector/004211/ .
. Dr Andrew Glikson, “The Methane Time Bomb and the Triple Melt-down", Countercurrents, 2008 : http://www.countercurrents.org/glikson101008.htm .
. Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, D. Beerling, R. Berner, V. Masson-Delmotte, M. Pagani, M. Raymo, D.L. Royer, and J.C. Zachos, 2008: Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim? Open Atmos. Sci. J., 2, 217-231: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2008/Hansen_etal.html (abstract) and http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Hansen_etal.pdf .
. James Lovelock, “The Revenge of Gaia”, Allen Lane, London; p51.
. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg interviewed on the ABC Science Show with Robyn Williams, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2007/2115399.htm .
. Australia’s first Prime Minister Edmund Barton (1901), speech to Federal Parliament concerning the Commonwealth Immigration Restriction Act 1901, quoted in Buggy and Cates (1985), p145; Buggy, T. and Cates, J. (1985), Race Relations in Colonial Australia (Nelson, Melbourne).
. Arthur Calwell speech to Parliament (1948), Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, 2 December 1947, vol. 194, p2948; quoted in Murray-Smith (1984), p36 - Murray-Smith, S. (1984) (editor), The Dictionary of Australian Quotations (Heinemann, Melbourne).; quoted and discussed in Kiernan (1978), chapter 5, pp114-135 - Kiernan, C. (1978), Calwell. A Personal and Political Biography (Nelson, Melbourne).
. Gideon Polya, “G8 failure means climate genocide for developing world”, Countercurrents, July 2009: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya110709.htm .