For climate change stakeholders—both sceptics and believers—the recent natural calamities in Asia and the Pacific is a point of discussion. For believers, this is a case of “I told you so” while for sceptics, it is just what is–“natural calamities.”
Majority of scientist believe that climate change is a fact (Now if you need more information on this, you can read more in this New Scientist Article) However, the issue is dichotomised to whether the earth is actually warming up or cooling down. Another angle in the debate is whether it is man-made or natural and subsequently how should the world react.
For believers, the earthquakes, flooding in Southeast Asia and the Pacific is a wake-up call. Here in Australia, there is a call for the country to take a lead in the climate change issue and for it not to wait for other developed countries to take action. However, the issue has been politicised recently as the opposition squabbles to have a united stand on the government’s proposal for an emission trading scheme (ETS). The ETS aims to reduce the country’s carbon emissions and put a price for every emission that any company will be allowed to emit. This is similar to the US carbon tax proposal. A recent independent report, however, made some quarters accuse the Australian government of hiding details of the scheme. Frontier economics assessed that the Australian ETS will cost the country enormous financial burden without achieving its goal. It has recommended the following improvement to the ETS:
- Double the Government’s unconditional emissions reduction target to 10% reduction on 2000 emissions by 2020
- A reduction in the net present value of the economic costs of the scheme over the next 20 years from $121 billion to $72 billion – a $49 billion improvement.
- Limit household power bill increases to less than 5 per cent in the near term rather than the immediate 25 per cent price increase under the CPRS
- Reduce job losses overall, and share the burden of job losses more evenly between capital cities and regional centres
- Improve incentives to invest in new technology and infrastructure.
The politicization of climate change has proved detrimental to the issue as it slipped the policy radar of the government.
For sceptics, global warming is a natural phenomenon and any impact is less severe than what is generally predicted. Pat Michaels is a leading global warming sceptic and an active member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here is his take on global climate change:
In the midst of the debate on climate change, I reckon that the main driving theme is economy. Whether the consequences of climate change will be good or bad to any country’s economy the bottom line is that developing countries are caught in the middle of a problem that developing countries might have to take responsibility with in the first place. Whether climate change is natural or man-made, the reality is living things (both humans and animals) are feeling the consequences. People from the Maldives would probably be the first people to apply as a climate change refugees and yet despite the agreement that climate change is fact (whether you believe that the world is heating up or cooling down), action has been relatively slow.
In one of the most affected countries of climate change, Filipinos are more passionate than ever about blogging against climate change and calling on world leaders to act now and stop to be in the state of denial.
If the victims of Ondoy, tsunami in Samoa, earthquakes in Southeast Asia could just speak… time is running out for the rest of us.
If you’re still puzzled, you might want to read more here.