Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Dramatic than Terrorism and Ebola

"For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week - terrorism, instability, inequality, disease - there's one issues that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate."
That's how Obama began his address to the UN Climate Summit.

He describes the effects on the USA, recognises that "the climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it", and acknowledges that we have to cut carbon pollution in our own countries and work together as a global community before it is too late.

"We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.

This is the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and last generation that can do something about it.

In the US, there is triple the wind power, and 10 times more solar than when Obama became president. Cars are going to be twice as fuel efficient in the next decade, and every major car maker offers electric vehicles. Over the last 8 years, the USA has reduced carbon pollution by more than any other country - and is well on target to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020.

In Obama's words "the United states of America is stepping up to the plate. We recognise our role in creating this problem. We embrace our responsibility to combat it." He goes on to say that to be successful we must all work together.

Of course, Australia's leader failed to attend the Summit. Our foreign minister attracted a much smaller audience.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop speaking to a very small audience at the UN Climate Summit

Perhaps this not surprising. Australia has no effective climate policy at this time and a much smaller goal of a 5% reduction by 2020. Even as I write this, Australia's 20% renewable energy target (small by world standards) is being further reduced.

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