ANDREW GLIKSON. Parliament and the media cover up the looming climate crisis

13 12 2017
By some coincidence, I listened to a podcast from Radio Ecoshock in which Andrew Glikson was interviewed on this very subject…… I lifted this article from John Menadue’s blog.
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Sometimes it is what is not mentioned, or little-mentioned, rather than widely discussed, which tells the story.

ANDREW GLIKSON__

Dr Andrew Glikson

The Section 44’s citizenship issue and the marriage equality issue have recently dominated the Federal Parliament. However, with a few exceptions, the looming global warming crisis, to which Australia is contributing over four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (including coal and gas exports), is hardly mentioned in Parliament and is markedly subdued in the media.

This is surprising when CO2 emissions are accelerating at 2 to 3 parts per million per year, and global heating and mean global temperatures have reached 1.3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2017). These changes have produced a spate of extreme hurricanes (cf. Caribbean, Texas, Florida, Philippines, Fiji) wildfires (cf. southern Europe, California) and floods (Pakistan, China) around the world .

Despite an ongoing campaign of untruths by climate denial lobbies, the world’s leading climate research organizations (NASA, NOAA, NSIDC, Berkeley Earth, Potsdam Climate Impacts, Hadley-Met, Tindale, CSIRO, BOM) have confirmed current trends toward a world of +2 degrees Celsius and +4 degrees Celsius above mean pre-industrial temperatures.

According to leading authorities in climate science, including Hans Schellnhuber (Germany’s chief climate change adviser), James Hansen (NASA’s former chief climate scientist) and others, at +4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, large parts of the world will become uninhabitable, due to extreme weather events and rising sea levels inundating coastal regions and low river valleys.

But the silence of the political classes is hardly surprising, given both major parties support, or at least tacitly support, coal mining, and coal and gas export. Thus: “Bill Shorten told reporters on Monday that, if the Adani project cleared all the regulatory hurdles, ‘then all well and good’”, negating Kevin Rudd’s assertion that climate change is “The greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”.

Even some Greens appear to regard too much focus on global warming as a vote loser, aiming instead to be a broad-church left-wing party rather than a climate change-focused effort.

To a major extent, these parties are the product of a media in the thrall of the denial syndrome. Thus, even the ABC, when reporting large-scale extreme weather events around the world rarely, if ever, relates them to global warming, which drives increased energy levels in the atmosphere-ocean system, which triggers hurricanes and wildfires.

There is not one climate scientist in the Australian Parliament. The media commonly shuns the views of scientists. For example, the bulk of the mainstream media recently shunned an open letter to the PM signed by 200 scientists and communicated to the press. Further, many progressive journals appear to suffer from “climate fatigue” and regard climate communications as no more than “nuisance value”.

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” (T.S. Eliot).

Andrew Glikson is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University

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4 responses

13 12 2017
Michael

He who says anything like this will be yelled down with “Whataboutism” and “White something-something stuff” or just – shut up, nerd.
All parties support growth, all parties support immigration, all parties want to plaster the whole world with concrete for growth is paramount. Most parties are even collectivist Earth wreckers across the political board.

14 12 2017
Dr Bob Rich

I am in full agreement with Andrew, who is one of the Australian scientists I admire. However, I disagree about his comment regarding the Greens. I’m an active Greens member, and we are VERY concerned about climate change, the 6th extinction event, and other environmental issues.

17 12 2017
Mark

But as the lead man of midnight oil, Peter Garret, found out when he went with Labor, when actually in a place where you can do some good, there is a line to follow.
He found he could do more on the sidelines than as a member of parliament, either that or his proclaimed environmental credentials are a false front.

I say this from the point that Labor has all but abandoned workers and the other side are not sure.

21 12 2017
rabiddoomsayer

How many ladybirds have you seen this year? When was the last time you had to clean your windscreen because of bug splatter? Now think back to your childhood a very different picture.

Have you been fishing recently? Yes there are a few good spots left, at the right time. Again think back to your childhood, most of those good spots are gone. Even the phytoplankton is significantly reduced.

We are smashing the base of the food chain. The claim that man and his domesticated animals comprise 98% of vertebrate biomass might be overblown but the percentage is significant and not sustainable.

Climate change certainly has the potential to do us in, maybe even this century, but increasingly it looks as though we won’t last long enough for it to be a major problem.

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