A quick note on Roger Pielke's piece in Foreign Policy about the future of climate change policy, and specifically his suggestion that we break the problem down into smaller chunks so that we avoid the pitched battle between 'warmists' and 'deniers'. There's no hope for progress on that front, so better to focus on discrete areas where competing sides do think alike. For instance, says Pielke, in America the outspoken opponent of climate science, Senator James Inhofe, supports Al Gore's position on removing particulate pollution from the air.
This brought to mind an op-ed penned by Liberal Party climate sceptic-in-chief Nick Minchin back in April, who had some say in the removal of Malcolm Turnbull from the Liberal leadership and in the rise of Tony Abbott, who has promised to rescind Australia's carbon tax if he wins office. Minchin maintains that global warming is a scare campaign, but there's an important concession in his piece:
(Bjorn) Lomborg advocates significant global investment in green energy research and development in order to make green energy so cheap everyone will want it. Now that I can support. If there is to be any common ground between sceptics and warmists, this surely must be it. Let's work to make green energy a realistic, affordable alternative, instead of stupidly trying to make conventional energy so incredibly expensive that we'll stop using it.
This makes the political drama Australia has witnessed over the last few years, in which climate change has split the nation and seen leaders from both sides of politics put to the sword, slightly harder to understand. If the advocates of climate action had focused more on technological solutions such as clean energy, couldn't a lot of this drama have been avoided?
Of course there is still the huge question of how you fund the push for green energy, but that seems like a manageable debate if all sides are agreed about the objective of affordable renewable energy.
Photo by Flickr user Bush Philosopher - Dave Clarke.