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.