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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 15 June 2007
Paul Kelly gets it right and wrong on GHG reduction models - it's the same mechanism whether Kyoto, G8, APEC, Bali
Mood:  cool
Topic: globalWarming


We just had to add a comment to Paul Kelly's blog here:

No easy way to share emissions cuts burden, Wednesday, June 13, 2007 

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with with anything "the Professor" writes but he fails to understand the history of environmental politics when he discusses the international geopolitics of green house gas (ghg) reductions today. 
You can't blame him too much really, it's not his field, nor the field of most of the others in the commentariat. They don't know their ecology from their zoology.
Here is our response:

Actually Kyoto was, and remains the valid model in a geo political economy.


It's based on the precedent of the Montreal Protocol targeting the ozone hole problem in that case not greenhouse gases.


China and India similarly didn't want to retool out of CFC and HCFC gases destroying the ozone layer.


The western  countries, including USA and little sir echo Australia, put their foot down on the ozone hole and said yes, you must retool or we embargo those goods/services inputed with those ozone depleting substances (ODS).


China and India retooled in 5 years in their huge populations so they could keep selling their air conditioners and fridges to the USA and other countries.


True the Montreal Protocol is a qualified success with a fair degree of backsliding and cheating, but basically the model works ... IF...there is a unified block of western countries hosting the buyers market here in the more affluent economies. In short the West controls the market access that India and China need, as much as the West need their cooperation on GHG reductions.


Actually a shame on this govt and Big Media for not knowing this environmental politics AO1. But then it was under this govt that the ABC cut Earthbeat in 2005  specialising in environmental policy. Get the picture?




This market based reality is indeed why China for one, with all its coal fired power stations is also accelerating their solar and other renewable energy industries as fast as they can. They know they've been here before on ODS. As I do. As anyone with some brains should by now. It is also why Rudd would be a better PM in the future with his Chinese language skills for the messy negotiation.


But what this situation also does reveal is that Australia as a main supplier to China and India is in fact part of the China-India block, and is playing a rodent like double game. To the West especially Europe we say we support ghg cuts, but to the East we say come and get our coal as much as you like until the music inevitably stops. 


The truth is Australia will cop the same discipline as these two major fossil fuel consumers China and India when the USA eventually stops playing chicken with global ecological reality just as they did with the ozone hole, and buckles down to a carbon constrained future and threatens refusal of Chinese etc goods . That would be about January 2009 when W Bush is removed from office along with his Big Oil mates.


Perhaps this is why Costello who gets climate change supports some insurance with a massive solar technology power plant in north west Victoria. It's our future, or very similar, too (geothermal, wind etc), not just China and India.


But it is quite shocking the level of rodent in Australia's dealings on this issue: The Australian Govt has been doing it's best to maximise our coal sales by literally working to delay (read sabotage) as long as possible the western markets inevitable guillotine on Chinese/Indian carbon rich cheap produce.


In this sense it doesn't matter what it's called - Kyoto, G8, APEC, Sydney, or Bali being the next scheduled UN talks in December 2007 (after our federal election as per Marian Wilkinson here G8 moves to put APEC in the political shade - Opinion - smh.com.au, an article that parallels Prof Kelly's article above).


The leverage on China and India remains the same, and has always remained in the hands of Western Countries if they were unified and serious: The threat of a collective ban on carbon rich sales into affluent western markets just like ODS under the Montreal Protocol. By the way the Montreal Protocol also systematised financial and technological transfers to India and China to meet the challenge on ODS just as will be necessary on GHG reduction West to East, and who knows East to West one day. 


The community of nations seems to be dancing to the carbon tune in a game of renewable energy musical chairs knowing full well the music stops with a market based guillotine sooner or later. And that it will indeed hurt many if not all if it's not done well. The key is to grow the number of renewable energy chairs and pronto.

Posted by editor at 12:05 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007 10:09 PM NZT

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