Tim Blair has a new column up in the Australian Sunday Telegraph discussing the newest, breathless pronunciation from the Australia Institute. They have, apparently with straight faces, announced that Australia, which according to Blair produces 1.5% of all global warming gasses, must cut their emissions by 95% to save the planet. Which forces one to ask the question: Who stops breathing?
IN A wonderful act of subversion, the Sydney Morning Herald's splendidly-named Stephanie Peatling this week managed to sneak a comic gem past her vigilant editors: "The greenhouse gas cuts Australia must achieve to prevent dangerous climate change may be substantially higher than thought, with modelling to be released today suggesting it should be as much as 95 per cent by 2020."
That modelling was the work of a leftist panic hive called the Australia Institute, presided over by director Clive Hamilton.
I called Clive on Thursday to discuss how we might achieve this reduction, which essentially would require that Australians stop doing everything, including breathing.
I also wanted to know how even a 100 per cent cut in Australia's carbon output could influence the global climate, given that we only generate about 1.5 per cent of all global emissions.
And there's the matter of Chinese economic expansion, which easily counters any local reductions.
Let's say Labor's mighty Kevin Ruddernaut storms to power at the next election and adopts the Australia Institute's plans (not likely, but we're imagining a worst-case scenario here – after all, it's a tactic approved by the environmental Left).
While Australia diligently spends the next 13 years closing down mines, factories, offices, hospitals, roads and anything else capable of killing the planet with carbon, the Chinese will have – if they continue at current rates – built about 670 new coal-fired power plants over the same time. (And lost about 78,000 workers in coal-mining accidents. The one-child policy isn't China's only means of population control.)
Alas, Hamilton wasn't at the institute's Canberra hut. He was on a break to do some writing, a helper told me, so had headed north to get away from Canberra's freezing weather. I hope he took his coat; it's barely any warmer in Sydney and Brisbane airport this week recorded its first sub-zero temperature.
Got that? First ever – in all of recorded history – sub-zero temperature in Brisbane. It's freaking cold down under, folks. It's cold as hell in South Africa and Argentina, too. Happily, there is a solution to all this. If Al Gore and his sycophants will all personally hold their collective breath for twenty minutes, the level of screeching will drop by 95%, thereby saving the planet.