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Opinion: Is climate change a charity case?

When Australian Climate Commission chief Tim Flannery is asked why Australia should bother doing anything about climate change when the country is responsible for only 1.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, his answer is quite simple.

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Perth
Live Aid (and any charity for that matter) probably did/does more harm than good. Without more effort to educate and empower women so that fertility rates fall, the spectre of famine will become much more common. Foreign aid should be focused at the root of the problem, not bandages (bandaid) on the symptoms.

The big differences are that a charitable donation is tax deductible, you can choose whether to donate and who to donate to.

Bridgetown
Those attending the Climate Change Committee's presentation in Bunbury last week were reminded that there are more than 100 nations involved in commitments to mitigate climate change; so Australia's 1.5% actually puts it above the average - and is about the same as France. Are those opposing a price on carbon because of this percentage saying that Australia should unilaterally walk away from its agreed international obligations? My concern is that we have to start now on a process that can carry on past 2020 and deliver the much greater cuts needed by 2050 if we are to avoid climate disaster. Taking once-off direct actions just to get to agreed cuts by 2020 will leave us with nothing in place to deal with long term realities. I would like my grandchildren and their children to have a life and a world worth living in. This means thinking beyond the next election or next CEO's term of office and I don't see the Coalition or major business doing that.

Perth
It is so true to draw a comparison between the Carbon Tax and Charity, particularly charity for famine in the 70' and 80's where such a small amount actually made it to where it was needed as the administrative costs of the collector chewed up 90% plus of the donation. As a nation Australia has a wealth of energy resources, particularly in renewables. In the short term part of the nations economy will boom from LNG, the sector quiet rightly so, is against the domestic gas policy, why not provide a concession to the DOMGAS in exchange for development of renewable energy projects?

perth
Climate change is real; just ask a mammoth. So we know too it is natural. But man contributes to climate change from micro climates over cities to affects due to industrial emissions. So if both contribute, I have a simple question for which I would like a simple answer. What is the percentage of the climate change occurring right now that is due to man? Please site source when you answer. The answer is not 90% as some erroneously attribute to the IPCC. That was the subjective degree of certainty ascribed to their opinion that man affects the climate. Simple answer. Between 1 and 100. Thanks

Darwin, NT
READ THIS GUYS. Its very interesting to see how India and China is being singled out for greenhouse gas emissions in the climate change debate. Its just plain "hypocrisy" on the parts of developed countries and societies. India and China are booming only now, so people have started to consume more and are able to afford small luxuries in life only recently. What about countries like the US, UK, Aus and the Europe? For many decades these countries tread the path of massive industrialization in very UNSUSTAINABLE ways. The electricity consumption and transport related emissions per person is very high in these developed countries compared to the less-developed countries. Today, when the vast majority of Indians and Chinese travel in public transport, most Australians and Americans are owning two or three cars per house! Even the low-income people here are owning cars, which are sometimes very old, crappy and fuel inefficient, emitting large amount of harmful greenhouse gases. When most houses in India or China dont have flashy flat-screen televisions, Australian and American homes have LED, plasma or 3D tvs and X-boses and Playstations. Air-con is considered a luxury in most houses in India and China. But in Australia, air-con is a necessity. When the utility companies raise the electricity cost, people are only ready to make a lot of noise rather than cutting down on their consumption, as if they cant live a life without air-con! A huge proportion of India's and China's population lives below poverty, which means they cant afford even one meal a day. On the other hand, Australia and US are one of the highest consumers of red meat and all the cattle and sheep grown for their meat emit huge greenhouse gases when they fart or burp. No Australian or American wants to change his/her lifestyle, they want to enjoy all the comforts of TV, air-con, cars, fast-food, etc., etc. But when an Indian or Chinese wants to have the same comfort, its contributing to climate change! Hahaha very funny people, but sometimes it makes me wonder if people here are feeling insecure and unable to accept the enormous growth of India and China. Well, climate change is real. It will be good if we can have a consensus among all these countries in the fight against climate change, but no finger-pointing at China or India alone.

Its not just climate change we should be worried about. Even if man-made climate change is disproven, there are many environmental issues to worry about. Pollution, Habitat destruction, overfishing, landfill, extinction and simply running out of resources. At least the focus of climate change augurs for action with a positive outcome for all these issues, but there is still a risk of climate change being a huge distraction. The biggest medium term issue of sustainability is not climate change, it is running out of resources. If just the eastern seaboard of China from Shanghai to Beijing, increased their per capita energy increase to that of Japan or South Korea (far less than say, the USA or Australia), then we will need two new Saudi Arabias at full production. That kind of resource is simply not there.

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