Who pays for the cost of climate inaction?

The political game playing around Australia's proposed emissions trading system continues to overshadow the reason for action on climate change says Prof. Ray Wills, CEO of WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA), and Adjunct Professor with The University of Western Australia.

The political game playing around Australia's proposed emissions trading system continues to overshadow the reason for action on climate change says Prof. Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA), and Adjunct Professor with The University of Western Australia.


‘In the meanwhile the rest of the world is getting on with positive dialogue and proposing solutions,' observes Prof Wills.

‘Global temperatures are rising - its been measured, it is a fact. Science has established that the cause of rising temperatures is a consequence of human-induced climate change.'

‘The world is taking action. Australian action is caught up in politics.'

Earlier this year, a report from the United Nations Environment Program advised that $155 billion in 2008 investment in new power generation capacity from renewable energy technologies was more than investment in fossil-fuelled technologies. The 2008 growth in investment in clean energy was largely due to record investments by China, Brazil and other emerging economies.

Recently, a global survey by HSBC Bank has revealed that from January to October 2009, world governments have spent $US59 billion on renewable energy projects. Impressive as this figure is, notably $US51 billion has come from spending on renewable energy by China.

US President Obama, now committing the US to emissions reductions in advance of the Copenhagen climate change meeting, has planned $US113bn government spending for renewable energy developments in green spending, most of which will occur in 2010 and 2011, and in the past 24 hours has committed the US to emissions reductions

In relation to the science, every qualified scientific body in the world, from the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chinese Academy of Science, accepts unequivocally that global warming is a reality and agrees that warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Further, there is no major corporation in the world (perhaps bar one particular oil company) that disputes the basis of the science, and every major corporation is making some response to climate change, albeit for some that action may not contribute to a solution.

Prof Wills concludes: ‘Let me be quite clear - there is no research published in reputable scientific journals that refutes the importance of greenhouse gases in controlling the Earth's climate, nor the fact of human origins in the build up of greenhouse gases. None. None at all. Zero. To be absolutely clear that, total is less than one.'

‘Those opposed to action need to learn to count and prepare to act in the best interests of the planet and the community - or be prepared to pay the huge costs for the consequence of inaction.'


WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) Media Release - 2 December 2009.

Editors notes:
1. Royal Society statement on scientific acceptance of human-induced global warming http://royalsociety.org/Joint-science-academies-statement-Global-response-to-climate-change/
2. News report on HSBC report http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/industry-sectors/global-green-spending-misses-targets/story-e6frg95f-1225803456272
3. Earlier 25 Feb 2009 HSBC report on http://www.globaldashboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/HSBC_Green_New_Deal.pdf
4. Global Trends in Sustainable Energy, drawn up for the UN by the New Energy Finance (NEF) consultancy http://sefi.unep.org/english/globaltrends2009.html
5. Global temperatures are rising: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png from this data set at NASA http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.txt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png
6. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses boasting a growing membership of 260 industry members from a diversity of businesses, and now the largest state-based industry body of its kind in Australia. www.wasea.com.au.

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