Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Aussie academic David Holmes, of the University of Melbourne, suggests that Politicians are using the Paris Agreement to defuse climate concerns, by claiming Paris “solved” the climate crisis – and he’s not happy about it.
Why has climate change disappeared from the Australian election radar?
Two weeks into a protracted election campaign, it is looking ever-more likely that climate change is to be placed way down the order of business – at least for the major parties.
Apparently, climate is less important than jobs and growth – or, in Labor’s case, health and schools.
A big part of this change in political climates is undoubtedly the Paris summit itself. The political triumphalism of the summit belies the scientific pessimism of so many climate scientists and activists.
Kevin Anderson from Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research even declared the summit to be “worse that Copenhagen”, in that it is based on out-of-date science, does not include aviation and shipping, and includes negative emissions in its scenarios for achieving abatement.
On the other hand, after the collapse of talks at Copenhagen, some activists see no choice but to climb aboard with the Paris agreement, insofar as it at least signifies a mainstream seachange in action – even if the actual measures are inadequate. The INDCs that came out of the conference still put the world on a path to 3.5℃.
Yet so many politicians from around the globe have sought to convince their constituents that the climate problem is all but solved. The Coalition is banking on such a sell to the Australian electorate as it gambles with a climate attention minimisation strategy.
Former NASA GIS Chairman James Hansen claimed last year that the Paris climate talks were a fraud. Who knows, perhaps that was the intention all along.