U.S. & OZ: Public Climate Concern Not Matched by Government Action

windmillsNew polls show the vast majority of Australians and Americans to be concerned with climate change. Bipartisan majorities of Americans (90% Democrats, 80% Independents and 60% Republicans) say “the heating of the earth's atmosphere is having serious effects on the environment now or will soon and think that it is necessary to take immediate steps to reduce its effects”. And more than 90% of Australians believe “climate change is a vital issue” — perhaps not surprising given the climate induced “big dry” drought [search] that is decimating the Australian continent and may be the first large scale planetary climate emergency. Yet the executive leadership in both countries continues to stonewall even modest Kyoto emission reduction goals, and the opposition parties offer tepid alternatives that are nowhere near as robust as necessary to solve the problem. For the planet's atmosphere to continue operating we need an urgent and dramatic decarbonization of the economy [search] including dramatic emissions reductions of at least 80% asap; an end to coal power to be replaced by renewables such as solar, wind and local biofuels; a significant global carbon tax and well-regulated carbon market to clearly set a price on and reduce carbon emissions; and major efforts to increase energy conservation and efficiency. This as well as addressing underlying problems causing global heating including over-population, militarism and terrorism, lack of global equity and justice, and over-consumption by many as others starve. Change your light bulbs, drive a hybrid if you can, and take countless other personal actions to reduce you carbon footprint, but without these grander societal changes truly adequate to protect the biosphere and atmosphere in particular, the human family is toast.

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5 Responses

  1. Dzingirai Murambadoro says:

    Despite the different views on the reality of global warming, I would rather take a pessimistic approach (believe global warming is real) and start acting in my little way. Water vapor could be the most abundant green house gas and obviously accounting for the most warming but, who knows; maybe our anthropogenic emissions to the atmosphere (CO2, methane) could get the

  2. Yvon Princen says:

    Concerning the Congo case. It is extremely clear to me that it is no longer allowed to cut long standing forests anywhere in the world. Not in the tropics, not in the near-arctic region. For two reasons. The extreme lost of biodiversity, but also the very important role these forests have in the carbondioxid-methane cyclus.
    To achieve this there must be a transfer from the countries with a carbondioxid-methane deficit (I mean those who expell more than allowed to the earth ecosystem) to the countries who haven't reached their allowed quantity (sustainable to the earth ecosystem) yet.
    This means that we have to do a money transfer (preferably to a governemental independent body) from the too much polluting countries and that this fund has to be used to give a new and sustainable livelihood to these people that receive there income from forest cutting and shrinking in those countries that have still some room to sent carbondioxid and methane in the sky. This supplementary on the ban of use of wood from original forests all over the world as well as changing wood into industrial mining, cattle raising, industrial food production, etc.

  3. kerry says:

    Not just the human family will be toast… Just about all the other families of biological life on Earth will also be toast…
    One of the most effective things that you do Glen is to create those E.I. Action Alerts, whereby you write a “model” letter and set up the appropriate E-mail links so that us at home can easily communicate our displeasures and demands to the appropriate far-flung authorities…
    Well, perhaps it is time to set up an Uber-model letter saying more or less exactly what you are saying above, a kind of Total Action Alert!, addressed to ALL the shakers & movers in ALL the governments – media – UN – etc. (possibly with the means for us punters to contribute to you relevant localised contacts, like Kerry County Council!)
    It would be a big thing, I know, but why not? So that the growing voice of the EcoInternet could begin to be heard in the global political consensus making mechanisms, not just megaphoned at individual countries…
    I have felt somewhat useful in my disability from being able to participate politically with your Alert Action links. You have enabled me to communicate easily with far-flung political bodies, on an array of subjects dear to my heart. The Australian Green party even wrote back – bless `em…
    So why not a larger, more encompassing Total Global Action Alert?
    You must have a good body of E-mail links already… surely just a matter of growing it bit by bit…
    Dunno. Maybe I`m dreaming, but I imagine feeling splendidly useful clicking Send and being told, for example, that every representative at the UN will get my point… and some!
    Dr.Barry`s Ultimate Policy Meander… You write it – we`ll send it…

  4. Tibor Kiss says:

    How would you change your private life to protect the environment?

  5. John Burton says:

    Our idividual actions such as switcching to fluorescent lights can help a little. But to achieve the drastic cuts in emissioins that most experts say is needed, we must have mandatory actions by Congress,

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