That the normal rules of logic don’t apply to discussions of climate change seems obvious to any casual observer, but sometimes we can also snatch a glimpse at a possible agenda through the offered illogic.
Take, for example, this argument on how the New South Wales’ climate fund should be allocated.
The Berejiklian government’s Climate Change Fund has spent almost $50 million supporting work on raising the Warragamba dam wall – an outlay critics say is unrelated to the fund’s original purpose.
In the latest year, the fund spent $24.7 million on the Hawkesbury–Nepean Valley flood risk management, the centrepiece of which is the plan to lift the Warragamba Dam by 14 metres. That sum was up from $15.9 million in the previous year and $5.9 million for the 2016-17 year.
It seems to me that, if one believes anthropological climate change is a global existential threat, there are a finite range categories of response:
- Stop or reduce domestic pollution
- Stop or reduce pollution by other countries
- Find and implement alternate methods to generate energy
- Plan mitigating actions to reduce the impact of climate change
Of these, (1) and (4) seem most likely to achieve significant progress without unprecedented international cooperation. These are within the gift of a sovereign nation to deliver.
Some are not happy with mitigation as an approach, however:
“The money is being used more like a slush fund on tenuously linked projects rather than a strategic reserve to invest in a real plan to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and climate risk,” said Justin Field, an independent upper house MP.
What’s the fund’s purpose?
The fund was set up in 2007 with legislated purposes such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change associated with water and energy use. It was also intended to spur energy and water savings.
Seems like mitigation is a goal.
Harry Burkitt, a campaign manager with environment group The Colong Foundation, said it was “an absurd argument that raising the Warragamba Dam wall would somehow mitigate the impacts of climate change”.
Given that the current drought in NSW and increased bush fires this year are blamed on climate change by those who are most vocal on the subject, it seems somewhat hypocritical to suggest we shouldn’t try to capture more water.
“The government’s own leaked reports have stated that nearly 7000 hectares of UNESCO listed forests would be drowned by the raised dam, meaning thousands of tonnes of carbon would enter the atmosphere if the project were to be approved,” Mr Burkitt said.
More statistics obfuscation there. What’s the denominator, over what period, estimated relative impact, etc.?
If you believe climate change is going to wreak havoc on the globe, killing many people and plunging more into poverty, yet you aren’t pushing for mitigating actions in addition to reduce pollution, consider the possibility you’re driving an ideological agenda, rather than a fact-based one.
Ask yourself two questions:
1. Why shouldn’t we be immediately implementing local mitigation, and
2. Why aren’t we talking about nuclear energy?