Queensland government’s hot air on climate change continues unabated

Those who say they accept the general consensus about the threat of rapid and serious climate change but pretend we can prevent it without major and rapid changes to our lifestyle are the real climate change deniers.

Even though I strongly disagree with those who genuinely believe that climate change is either not real or doesn’t pose a significant economic, social and environmental threat, I can cope with that far better than people, organisations or governments who pretend to take the threat seriously, but actually do nothing meaningful to encourage the sort of change that the science says is needed.

My enduring, hugely aggravating, memory of my visit to the Brisbane Exhibition (aka ‘The Ekka’) this year was stepping into the expansive Queensland Government pavilion to see some a mountain of some of the most hollow propaganda – taxpayer funded of course – I have ever seen pretending to present an image of concern and action about climate change.

Right at the forefront, under the slogan “my climate, my choices” was a big model display of the new Airport Link tunnel, which has not only cost taxpayers far more than has already been promised, but can only be commercially viable if it delivers vastly greater amounts of vehicle traffic.

Today comes news of the state government’s determination to go to even greater lengths to try to deliver an eight cents a litre discount (funded by all taxpayers) on petrol, rather than match their rhetoric on reducing greenhouse emissions by reducing this subsidy of a major carbon emitter, or at the very least trying to confine it to more remote areas where regular long distance travel is essential.

The state government’s laughably  named  ‘climate smart’ website even has the gall to have a section called the “low carbon diet”, even though you have to dig deep into the site before it (briefly) mentions diet at all. It talks about “making simple changes to your everyday work practices and lifestyle”, yet all but ignores the most obvious and greenhouse significant change people can make to their lifestyle – at zero personal cost, which is to literally change their diet (i.e. food intake) by significantly reducing the amount of meat and dairy products they consume.

This basically business-as-usual blather on yet another taxpayer funded Qld Government website about climate change gives virtually no sense that the issue is urgent. It certainly gives not the slightest hint that there is absolutely no chance of meeting even the weak greenhouse emission reduction targets put forward by the state government – a 60% reduction in 2000 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, well short of the IPCC’s recommended reductions from 1990 levels – unless there is virtually immediate, dramatic changes to the way we live our lives. 

I’m almost starting to feel like I prefer the Howard government’s record of a decade of denial, misrepresentation, inaction and abuse of those who called for genuine action, compared to the emerging pattern of presenting a pretence of concern overlayed with reassuring falsehoods that pretend we can cut emissions by the amount called for without seriously changing the way we live.

PS: And while I’m at it, this article in The Guardian gives some information about the related issue of products made from leather.

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14 Comments

  1. I concur with Andrew completely,I am now a complete Climate Change Skeptic,I have no problem with those who accept it as real…both groups are talking about waste in some manner and wether and what to do.Its almost criminal now how Labor intellectualises all its eggs in the one basket,by Carbon Trading.The ALP simply isnt trying,here in N.S.W. the intimidation of unions and community not wanting any further changes re who owns what,is characteristic of uncaring government at its worst,with this cry about caring about the future,and the business blowhards as heroes yet again.There are serious troubles with the grid and transformers at high temperatures and loads,and the answer doesnt have to be highly costly change,but simply more community care by technologies that advance efficiency at the site of usage.It is even possible the rusting major transmitter design could be replaced ,by replacing by exoskeleton engineering,part by part,part robotics,part human direct,and the metals used,designed to be replaced as parts..nuts and bolts.There maybe both a necessity and a right,this time,of farmers expecting something better than leaving these large design structures,across their lands,polluting by frequencies,into usable structures for farms,or farmers being part of the workforce.It also occurs to me wooden poles, as they are today could be replaced by even brick constructions,that can house,more flexible transformer design,utilise solar for direct energy use,and have a African development,two pottery type urns with sand in the middle to cool food,applied like a coolgardie safe,at the same height of poles today or as part of a hydraulic process,if any advantage locally can be found in a more flexible mathematically derived tensioning of cable or wire.I dont hold my breath with seeing my ideas implemented.After all some other bastard has all the degrees!Money ,power prestige status and right.So has anyone really explored building materials as they are today,and skills,etc!

  2. Andrew, I’ve always held the position that it doesn’t matter what your view is on climate change, we’re all going to find out one way or the other whether the theory is right because no elected, or even non-elected government could maintain the support of its people and take the measures required.

    Which means we ought to be spending a lot more time worrying about adaptation!

  3. there is only one way to stabilize greenhouse emissions: population stabilization. everything else, however powerful, is just a short-term fix.

    politicians can not afford to anger voters, and will never take unnecessary action that might cost a vote. they will always have powerful incentive to talk, but not do.

    a society that wishes to survive will need to take fundamental decisions away from pollies through citizen initiative. a nation of subjects can not rise to this challenge and is apparently unable to avoid looming ecological catastrophe for lack of political mechanisms, and equally for lack of the character, personal and national, that might create these mechanisms.

    “we’ll all be rooned” is a lively possibility. don’t blame the pollies, they are what they are because the electorate is what it is: ignorant, dependent and self indulgent.

    there’s a lot of that going around, and the human race in general is likely to experience a big population collapse soon. maybe even extinction. it’s all yer own work, folks.

  4. “Even though I strongly disagree with those who genuinely believe that climate change is either not real ….. I can cope with that far better than people, organisations or governments who pretend to take the threat seriously, but actually do nothing meaningful

    I agree that there’s a lot to be said for consistency.

    To be kind to the State ALP government, maybe they’ve “seen the light” but are afraid to say so, instead, doing the public dance for show.

    To be less kind (& in my ever so objective mind, more realistic), they are more likely brainwashed by the AGW doctrine and merely following federal ALP’s style of trying to be seen to be doing something (like Fuelwatch, GroceryWatch and impulsive pie in the sky “ideas”).

    Graham Young: An interesting point you’ve made as (I assume) an AGW adherent.

    Reminds me of believer Bjorn Lomborg’s argument that much more good can be done for mankind in ways other than counting carbon. Notably he mentions the low cost to prevent malaria for millions of people.

    Andrew Bartlettt: A brief comment on your linked “Guardian” story:

    “Many committed carnivores draw the line at veal”
    Many committed vegetarians are pro-abortion

    Hmm.

  5. I’m with you re frustration at the things the Qld govt says and what they do. Having worked in a number of different departments, I am constantly surpised at the lack of action on the corprate end, when making simple changes would be so easy.

    Examples:
    being told to be health (Qld Health) yet not allowed to use the stairs between the 2nd and 3rd floor).
    The department’s IT section can’t make all printers default to double sided because the DG doens’t like double-sided printing
    No recycling bins provided.
    No reminding people to turn computers, monitors – or anything – off at night.

    At least the Brisbane City Council’s new Brisbane Square buidling has some fantastic recycling and energy saving mechanisms.

    It is frustrating to try to make changes as an individual and seeing nothing happening in the business.

    (Maybe I’ll write about roads in another post)

  6. A few monkeys on your back here now Andrew!? Al Loomis back once again,like you are a Senator getting his happiness out of doom,and you who started the motor,I guess.And another with gee-whizz-bang vegans vegetarians believing in human abortion as contradictory some the what!? Those two are the boffins in whitecoats found in an old science lab. somewhere,and forgot about the complexities of just being living human beings with all the terrible problems of.I see India in flood again,Japanese soaked by rain,and a bit of a nuke disaster in Belgium. Dont eat your veges from Belgium etc.So with that all being off subject,but still a percentage of relevancy,what do you think of the giant beehive construction for condensing water to be seen at KeeleyNet.com.!? I would love to work on projects like that experimenting with other materials,and maybe,building them into the electric grid!?Mainly the main electricity grid rather than power lines and poles,but who knows,if someone got encouraged,we humans in Aus,would have a go,just to see the outcome.Making these things out of even baled grasses with concrete rendering,mudbrick or even combining Aboriginal sacred rock sites with a a artificial redesign,of their choosing.Even now water could be got from transmission grid structures using canvas or reinforced plastic sheeting,and guttering systems, let the water flow down into portable tanks.Every year it rains again,I remember this old thought of mine,but shit,the Al Loomis’s preside everywhere,as bureaucratic inertia.And I have had enough,I accept doom as a athletic coach,which I will run against in my mind as my coach,and outdo him,by getting over the line before him!?And KeeleyNet points out the problem of undersize power lines,Australia must think of using excess electricity to be pumped into the ground, The Secret Life of Plants by Bird and Tompkins Penguin pointed out how vegetables etc. could improve in growth,powering up the combinations of metals to be found in our soils.

  7. Interesting post, Andrew!

    The Queensland petrol subsidy must be just about the silliest government policy in Australia. Where do Queenslanders think the money for the subsidy comes from?

  8. I bet if this subsidy was for anything other than petrol (except maybe beer), people would be up in arms, wondering why taxpayers are subsidising this industry.

  9. I mistakenly reported recently that 2 of my neighbours had downsized their cars. One had a large 4WD and the other had a 6 cylinder sedan.

    Both cars had been in for smash repairs, with smaller cars being loaned by insurance companies.

    With the population of Brisbane increasing dramatically, I no longer think we can get away from the need for new tunnels and highways.

    Now here’s an interesting opinion given to me by a Chaplain who used to work at the QUT.

    He said the buses in his area used to be chockablock with students and workers going into the city and to the QUT. Then the system changed such that the bus only took them to a train station, where they had to wait to resume their new (longer) two-step journey.

    The result? With the trains already overflowing with passengers, the people went back to using their cars. I hope the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and Queensland Transport bureaucrats are reading here.

    As for the new evening and weekend services in my area, most of the evening services have been put on the OTHER ROUTE – almost nothing close to home.

    I have tried catching a bus at night on both routes to get to my dance class. Both times, I have almost had to do the can-can to attract the bus drivers’ attention. They don’t even look to see if anyone is at the bus stops, because the new services are almost NEVER being used.

    All of the train station carparks in the northwestern suburbs are overflowing with vehicles. If people can’t park at the stations, how are they supposed to leave their cars at home?

    Instead of extending the railway line back out to Samford, the government prefers to pay a private bus company to deliver rich people’s children to a mega high school without them paying fares.

    Education Queensland is amalgamating 3 primary schools on the bayside and now another 3 in the Ipswich area. How will that cut carbon emissions or fuel bills?

    They’re also building a new high school in the Ipswich area. I think they’e

  10. Ideally Lorikeet, one shouldn’t need to park one’s car at the train station because you’ve either:

    a) walked the short distance or
    b) caught the regular bus close to your house which would take you to the station.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have these facilities yet, but I’m aware of many people who live within walking distance from the train station but drive there anyway.

  11. Muzz:

    That’s right. People seem to be allergic to using 2 forms of public transport in succession. This is partly because the buses run late, the train is missed, and after a lengthy wait, a person has to endure a sardine’s cramped existence for the bulk of the journey.

    I also think some people like to be able to get back to their cars quickly, so they can collect sick children from school.

    I think the government should stop allowing selfish residents to veto bus stops outside their homes.

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