Guest Post - Graeme Taylor

by: Heather on 12/18/2008
Posted in: Guest Posts

This article on the global emergency facing our planet just arrived from Graeme Taylor, author of Evolution's Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World . (Originally published in Australia's Courier-Mail daily newspaper and reprinted by permission of the author.)

Save Australia!

THE planet is now facing a global emergency. If the world continues on its present path, greenhouse gases will reach dangerous levels by 2016.

Will Australians allow global warming to destroy our children's future? Not likely. In World War II our parents and grandparents were willing to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to save civilisation - we must, can and will act with the same commitment now.

Our Government has chosen a path that will do little to stop global
temperatures from rising. The logic behind this is that climate change is a global problem and it would be too expensive and possibly useless for Australia to take the lead in cutting pollution.

This approach starts us down the road to disaster, since weak pollution reduction targets will not be enough to stop temperatures rising to deadly levels. Our Government's strategy is to start with easy goals and hope other nations in the future will agree on much higher standards. But in negotiations people rarely get more than what they ask for.

We are not playing cricket. When you lose in sports, there is always another game. But if we let global temperatures get out of control, it will be game over for human civilisation.We can't afford to gamble with climate change because we can't afford to lose.

Climate change is a real and growing threat. Average global temperatures are now less than 1C above pre-industrial levels, but even this small increase is devastating. Twenty per cent of the world's coral reefs are dead, glaciers and polar ice are melting, storms are strengthening, deserts are expanding and droughts and floods are more frequent and intense.

If the Australian Government's plan--and the Kyoto accords--are followed, average global temperatures are likely to rise by 3C or 4C. This will destroy most of our coral reefs and tropical rainforests and dry out the Murray-Darling. Increasing ocean acidity will kill off most marine life. Around the world up to a half of all species alive today will probably be extinct.

But this will only be the opening scene of an endless nightmare. Increasing temperatures will create an irreversible cycle in which the weather will get hotter year after year, eventually making most of our planet uninhabitable.

The planet is now facing a global emergency. If the world continues on its present path, greenhouse gases will reach dangerous levels by 2016.

Creating a sustainable global economy is not a matter of choice, but of survival. Because we live in a hot, dry country, we will be one of the first to suffer from global warming. And because we have so many sources of renewable energy - sun, wind, waves, geothermal - we also stand to benefit more than most from the development of new technologies.

While the Government's weak recommendations are a first step, additional measures are urgently required. Australia also needs to put a pollution tax on all goods, so that the more pollution that is caused in producing a product, the higher the tax. As Al Gore says: "We need to tax what we burn, not what we earn." This approach would allow Australia to lead the world in developing a sustainable economy without having to worry about investment moving to countries with lower environmental standards.

Creating a sustainable economy will be difficult and expensive. But
Australians have not always taken the easiest path. In September 1939 Australia joined Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth in the war against fascism. Then, Australians didn't ask whether the war would cost too much. Then, Australians simply agreed that losing the war was not an option, no matter what sacrifices needed to be made.

In 1939 Australians made the right choice--to take the hard path. If our children are to have a future, we have to once more make the right choice. Now is a time for truth, not fables. Now is a time for courage, not despair. Now is the time for Australians to stand up and save our country and our world.

For more from Graeme Taylor check out Evolution's Edge - a practical guide to a sustainable future for activists, educators, progressive thinkers and anyone concerned about the state of our world.




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