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.