Dickens: Climate change debate overrun by zealots on both sides

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Dec 2019, 4:15PM
OMV's legal use of their license has brought out the zealots, writes Andrew Dickens. (Photo / NZ herald)

Dickens: Climate change debate overrun by zealots on both sides

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Dec 2019, 4:15PM

God spare me from ideological zealots of all persuasions.

The obvious examples are in climate change and energy consumption.

There are two ideological camps.

The human climate change deniers who don’t believe humans and the way we live on Earth affects the environment and the climate. That’s not true.

Then there’s the climate change fanatics who believe humankind is solely responsible for the current climate change and that we can stop it. That’s also not true.

It’s far more complicated than either of these two camps portray it. The climate is changing. It always does. It always has. But you’d also have to be wilfully stupid not to admit that humans contribute to it.

We are the first creature on our planet to harness energy to adapt our environment and in doing so our population has swollen dramatically in the past 200 years. As has the amount of biomass in crops and livestock to keep us alive.

One of the little mentioned aspects of our energy use and emissions is that if we dramatically decreased them, the impact on humans would be as dramatic as any temperature change.  As a species we are completely dependent on energy.  Alternative sources are great but we will still need oil, gas and coal to survive for the next century at least.

So it doesn’t make sense to abandon hydrocarbons completely.

We saw an example yesterday as an Austrian oil company, OMV, was given permission to explore in the Great Southern Basin. Greenpeace was outraged.  How can this government claim climate leadership and allow this to happen?

Well, newsflash.  They didn’t ban oil and gas exploration.  They banned future oil and gas exploration. 

OMV is exercising their legal right on a licence that was already granted.  They have convinced the Environmental Protection Agency they can explore safely.  The government did not intervene and nor should they have. The real debate will happen if they find anything.

Of course, climate change denier zealots have been saying this ideologically driven government was about to ban everything. We are on a one way trip to socialist hell like Venezuela.

Well, newsflash. They haven’t banned coal to make our milk products, or gas to bake our bread or oil to deliver our food.

Greenpeace and climate change deniers are different sides of the same coin and their extremism is exhausting, and they get in the way of the people with common sense who want humans to live in a better way.

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