Andrew Dickens: Australian fires shines new light on climate debate

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Sun, 19 Jan 2020, 12:21PM

Andrew Dickens: Australian fires shines new light on climate debate

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Sun, 19 Jan 2020, 12:21PM

It’s the first Sunday Session of the year. And what a year: the auspicious 2020.

For those of us who could not believe that the Year 2000 would happen and we would be aged in our 30s, the fact that it is now 20 years later and we're still rocking on is both a miracle and a relief.

And here we are. It's a big year. There's an election later this year, but this year has started with full turbo.

I work the holiday period and often it's a dead zone. Not this year. In our first 20 days we've seen a lot of big stuff.

Middle East antagonism broke out on a scale not seen for years. Trump called Iran out and in return they called the West out. And within in a day the sabre rattling abated to be replaced by fist shaking. Concerning but not the end of the world. This is how Trump renegotiates deals. He walks away yelling and then comes back to the table and gets a better deal. Good for him. It only works until it doesn't. Catastrophically. But so far so good.

Jacinda Ardern got in the news for having a holiday in Australia, called out by Steve Price for virtue signalling even though her holiday was booked months ago. There are far too many people obsessed about our Prime Minister. They really either love her massively or despise her completely. The cult of personality has gone too far. She's a human doing her job. Let's keep it to that shall we.

And then a Prince quit.

But the big story was the fires in Australia, which we as a nation feel. We saw our skies turn orange and the birds freak out, and the whole world embarked on the climate change argument of the ages.  This was the beginning of the human caused climate change crisis versus the people who said this always happens in Australia.

The land is tinder-dry after five years of drought. There is debate over the cause of the fires; there are reports it was arson, there are reports it was lightning. What seems clear is the mismanagement by humans of the bush, either due to politics or the slashing of budgets plus some numbnettedness and we have a countryside ready to go up in flames - which it did.

You want some human caused environment change. There it was. Humans were at the heart of the fires throughout.

And that’s where I’ve always stood. Forget anthroprogenic climate change.  Just acknowledge human caused environment change.  Because that’s a human’s trick just like beavers, bees and termites.  We change our environment and that has impact.  On our climate, our soil, our waters.

The climate change debate on all sides is full of what Jordan Petersen calls  low resolution thinking.  All sides failing to grasp the complexity of the issue and reduce it to dumbed down sloganeering hiding behind some casually learnt facts or beliefs. 

It’s not enough for Greta Thurnberg and David Attenborough to say there’s climate change so do something and it’s not enough for Leighton Smith to say there is no climate change so change nothing.

At the end of the day it’s about being as sustainable and clean as you can be. That’s why I don’t like the Emissions Trading Scheme which seems to me to be a big Ponzi scheme and nor do I like offsetting which in all honesty is just to assuage the guilt of gross emitters.  Planting trees does not reduce the emissions created in the first place.

And I say this rarely but if human caused environment change is coming to ravage the planet then it’s coming.

Despite 20 years of fervent warning we refuse to fundamentally change.  We fly in planes more than ever, we have more cars than ever, we love our phones, we throw away food, we over package goods, we throw chewing gum and cigarette butts on the footpath.  Our beaches, harbours, oceans and rivers are full of stuff than humans put into them that make them unswimmable and toxic to marine life.

India, China, Australia, South America and a host of other regions are not abandoning dirty power creation.

And humans will never adopt a plant only diet. We are a filthy species.

All we can do is our best to reduce our environmental impact. To strive to find a form of energy that can keep us warm and lit up. To reduce our waste. To acknowledge that we live on a finite planet and it’s our job to look after it.