Fighting against the trend
We hear a lot of conflicting statements about Australia’s emissions reduction.
Some say we will meet our targets easily, others say we haven’t got a chance.
In 2016, as part of the Paris Agreement, Australia committed to reduce total emissions to between 26 per cent and 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.
So how are we going?
According to the Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for December 2017, on page 36, we are told that our emissions for 2017 are estimated at 533.7 tonnes, which is 11.7 per cent below the 2005 levels.
So, we’re on the way – or are we?
On the same page of the report we see that while emissions dropped steadily from 2005 until 2013 – when they hit 514.1 – since then they have increased year by year.
So it’s getting worse!
Not that the world as a whole is doing any better.
According to the International Energy Agency: “global emissions increased by 1.4 per cent in 2017, after three years of remaining flat”.
And according to NASA the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 379 parts per million in 2005 to 408 now – the highest for at least 400,000 years.
Under the Paris Agreement it was hoped that global temperature increases could be limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and hopefully a bit less.
But clearly the trend is against us.
According to a 2016 report by the Climate Council, the 1-degree increase we have had so far is already having a significant effect in Australia and the rest of the world.
- Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often.
- Marine heatwaves that cause severe coral bleaching and mortality are becoming more intense and occurring more often.
- Extreme fire weather and the length of the fire season is increasing, leading to an increase in bushfire risk.
- Sea level has already risen and continues to rise, driving more devastating coastal flooding during storm surges.
So what do we do in Australia? Dump the NEG. Who cares?
Jim Main, Cootamundra
A problem that cannot be ignored
I have recently read letters and opinion pieces stating that Australians should ignore politics in the USA because it doesn't affect us; nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact is that the US tends to fight all of its battles as far away from home as it can get.
With Donald Trump as president, there is absolutely no guarantee that he will not 'go off the rails' and start a war.
The areas of US operations are getting closer and closer to Australia with the next battle quite possibly being against Chinese or North Korean forces.
The US is insisting upon freedom of navigation past islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.
China is threatening action against US and UK ships and aircraft.
Trump claimed that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his meeting with Kim jong-un.
Truth be told Trump, got nothing from his meeting with the North Korean leader and must be feeling pretty stupid.
Should Trump decide that he needs another war, that war could be too close to Australia for comfort; particularly with US troops stationed in the NT.
Next time someone tells you not to worry about US politics and President Trump in particular; tell them "they’re dreaming".
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you have something to get off your chest?
Send your letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.