What's best for our country?

It’s a story that is echoed across the world, Government leaders stand up in global forums and conferences and say the right things.  We’ve probably all lost count of the number of world leaders pronouncing war on climate change, and warning about the global effects.  Yet time and time again, this seems to be little more than rhetoric for the sake of the media and global audience.

When it comes to actually tackling the issues the aggressive stance tends to get diluted in the face of the costs or short term economic issues.  I stress that phrase short term, because the long term costs of our current attempts to thwart climate change will be much greater.  Of course, in a democracy that cost will need to be paid by a future legislation, a fundamental problem of why so many governments are failing to tackle the climate change issues.

The situation in Australia is typical with growing discontent with the way their coalition government is tackling climate change. Just watch the Australian media to see how the governments efforts are perceived, there was a great program on last week which was broadcast by ABC, you can catch it via Iview if you have access to an Australian proxy. It’s in places like Australia that we hope to see some dramatic change in policy simply because the country is likely to be effected greatly by a warming planet.    Already there seems to be many more devastating wildfires appearing.


Events like this are a very real reminded of the real world effects of the planet beginning to warm due to climate change. There is also a reduction in the number of climate change skeptics as the main stream view become more difficult to deny.

Australia is in a difficult position due to climate change, there is little doubt about that. It’s economy relies heavily on the extraction and supply of fossil fuels which are behind climate change. Yet it is also a country likely to suffer more than many with it’s largely dry and hot climate. There is a growing feeling that short term prosperity is not worth the potential costs, as tanker after tanker leaves for Asia stuffed with Australian coal.

In a recent poll, over 60% of respondents said that they want Australia to be a world leader in tackling climate change. This would be a great boon to climate change movement but at the moment it’s simply not happening. The same poll showed large scale discontent in the way that the Government is tackling climate change and implementing potential solutions like carbon pricing and alternative clean energy resources.

Ultimately the same debate is happening in developed countries across the world.  The issues are grave but a solution is expensive and painful in the short term, few democratic governments seem to have the strength and resolve to tackle the issue properly preferring to instigate the piecemeal efforts that we are sadly far too late to rely on.

John Hefin is a writer and blogger who works from his base in Ontario, Canada.  He writes on technology and environmental issues and keeps up to date on both areas through the net and by spending too much time at his PC in order to watch iPlayer abroad.  The BBC’s environment coverage is second to none and is worth checking out.


It’s official, well nearly – in an important new report by the United Nations climate panel they have concluded that they are 95% certain that humans are to blame for the majority of global warming that has occurred since the 1950s.  The report goes on to detail the physical and scientific evidence that is behind climate change.

The warming of the ground, the air and the oceans – is evident for all to see.  Although it does reference the apparent pause in warming that has occurred in the last 15 years, it is suggested that this is too short to be seen as anything significant in the long term trends.  The panel warn that further damage to the environment and increased temperatures is also an inevitable result if we keep emitting greenhouse gases in the quantity we are currently.


The report refers to the changes that are required in order to stop us seriously altering our climate system over the coming decades.  As always the changes center around substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.   There is huge political pressure on this report as it actually effects the policies of many world governments.  As such the release is always preceded by very intense negotiations , this is the summary of the global warming position – which will be referenced across the planet.

It is only the beginning though, the initial report is the first out of three reports which will be released over the coming year.  The statements in these reports are the most accurate and comprehensive that our available of our current understanding on both the position and the mechanics of global warming.

Although there is enough doubt and cautiousness to give the climate change skeptics some ammunition, the current understanding is quite plain.  The observed changes in our climate change are man made and are unprecedented over the last millennia.

Each of the last three decades has seen the Earths surface temperature rise, it’s certainly warmer than any period since 1850.  However even this figure is only due to the lack of real records – the suggestion is that our planet’s surface is warmer than at any period over the last 1400 years.  As the temperature rises, then the oceans have warmed and the levels of snow and ice have fallen.

To see the full report you can download a copy from the BBC website – here, you’ll need a PDF reader to view it properly.  There are some interesting programmes being scheduled on UK television over the coming few months – all available online using the iPlayer application – people based outside the UK may need to modify their IP address to view however  – here’s a link. There’s another video explanation of the issue on this site too.