I have commented previously in this column about the manifestly ridiculous politicising of climate change science that is occurring across the globe. However, nothing in the past comes close to the absurdity that was on display at the latest climate change talks in Katowice, Poland.
Much of the opening day was wasted in debate brought on by fossil fuel producing nations, the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait, when they objected to the word “welcome” in relation to the latest IPCC report. Instead they insisted that, rather than welcomed, the report should simply be “noted”!
The evidence supporting climate change science has been collected, researched, analysed and presented by thousands of the world's best qualified scientists for more than 30 years, yet is still not being accepted by the deniers, who have gone to great lengths to give credence to any dissenting scientific opinion, no matter how questionable.
So the widespread goodwill at the Katowice talks was undermined by a handful of countries trying to disconnect the science and urgency from the implementation of the Paris agreement.
Not altogether surprisingly, given recent domestic policy announcements on coal, Australia remained silent during the heated debate, a fact that did not go unnoticed, shocking many countries including the island nation states on Australia's doorstep who are already suffering from the effects of climate change.
Australia’s environment minister, Melissa Price, whose connections to the mining industry in Western Australia are no secret, arrived in Katowice for the second week's negotiations, claiming Australia's priority outcome for the talks was “to ensure a robust framework of rules to govern the reporting of Paris agreement targets”, adding: “Australia’s emissions reporting is of an exceptionally high standard and we are advocating for rules that bring other countries up to the standard to which we adhere.”
The current high standard of Australia's emissions reporting is unquestioned. However, having reported that emissions have risen dramatically by 1.3% over the past quarter, let's hope those reporting standards are not manipulated to support the Minister's dubious assertion that Australia will meet its Paris emissions reduction targets.
- John Edwards
This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on December 24, 2018.