Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bottom of the Class

I enjoyed seeing a cartoon about Bill McKibben today. It seems he's getting noticed - including an article in The Monthly.

Cartoon of Bill McKibben explaining the maths of carbon emissions

The cartoonist drew the Queensland Premier as the schoolkid not grasping the concept - but it could equally have been a fossil fuel CEO. It's like the old saying,
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"

Or in Bill's words, "stuck in a bizarre state of denial, the kind where you acknowledge that you have a problem, but not that you need to do anything about it."

In an interview with The Conversation, he talked about his campaign for divestment of fossil fuel shares. It's based on moral grounds (fossil fuels are predicted to claim 100 million lives by 2030), but it also makes financial sense to get out of the carbon bubble before it bursts.

Asked about the chances of Australia divesting from coal, Bill responded:
My sense is that Australians overestimate the amount of their economy based on coal. Because it generates outsize returns for a few people, they are able to use it to their political ends.

But I am pretty sure that a country as blessed with the resources of sun and wind and 21st century fuels doesn’t need to stay completely wedded to 18th century technology. A country as affluent and educated as Australia could figure out something else to do with its people rather than just keep digging up black rocks and burning them.

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