Climate Change Policy

Service (opening words, reading, closing words) to an address by Kelvin Thomson, Federal Member for Wills. October 31, 2010

Opening Words

Earth is our home. We are part of this world and its destiny is our own. Life on this planet will be gravely affected unless we embrace new practices, ethics, and values to guide our lives on a warming planet. As Unitarian Universalists, how can our faith inform our actions to remedy and mitigate global warming/climate change? We declare by this Statement of Conscience that we will not acquiesce to the ongoing degradation and destruction of life that human actions are leaving to our children and grandchildren. We as Unitarian Universalists are called to join with others to halt practices that fuel global warming/climate change, to instigate sustainable alternatives, and to mitigate the impending effects of global warming/climate change with just and ethical responses. As a people of faith, we commit to a renewed reverence for life and respect for the interdependent web of all existence.

From; Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, 2006 Statement of Conscience, Unitarian-Universalist Association

http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/socialjustice/statements/8061.shtml

Reading

It is a simple fact of life on earth that there is going to be no successful mitigation of the climate change problem without a truly global effort. All developing companies or all major developing countries have to be part of that and accept substantial constraints on greenhouse gas emissions... The climate change problem is at its heart an ethical problem. It’s a problem of income distribution and it’s a problem of income distribution with dimensions that we don’t usually think about very much... A revolution in humanity’s use of fossil fuel-based energy would be necessary sooner or later to sustain and to extend modern standards of living. It will be required sooner if we are to hold the risks of climate change to acceptable levels. The costs that we bear in making an early adjustment will bring forward, and reduce for future times, the costs of the inevitable eventual adjustment away from fossil fuels.

The international equity question arises from the costs of climate change itself and mitigation varying greatly across countries. It is affected by the historical responsibility for current greenhouse gas emissions, which countries which were not responsible for what’s in the atmosphere now think are very important. Currently rich countries don’t think those issues are very important. Every climate scientist has his or her own views on some issues that differ from the mainstream in detail. But the broad findings of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have general support amongst scientists with relevant specialist expertise. The broad wisdom of the IPCC is strongly contested by a small number, and a small minority, of reputed climate scientists. It is not contested by the large majority of specialists, and by the leaders of the relevant learned academies in the countries of great scientific accomplishment. I see myself as a climate change skeptic and a skeptic looks at the evidence and bases conclusions on the evidence rather than on belief. To hold the view that this is not an issue that you need to do something about, to hold the view that it’s all a furphy takes belief.

Ross Garnaut

Closing Words

Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats. We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can't afford the risk of inaction... Becoming carbon neutral is only the beginning. The climate problem will not be solved by one company reducing its emissions to zero, and it won't be solved by one government acting alone. The climate problem will not be solved without mass participation by the general public in countries around the globe.... We need to push ourselves to make as many reductions as possible in our own energy use first.. and that takes time. But we must do this quickly.. the climate will not wait for us..... Some of our businesses use more energy than others, but our strategy everywhere is the same.. first, reduce our use of energy as much as possible. Then, switch to renewable sources of power where it makes economic sense. And, over time, as a last resort, offset the emissions we can't avoid.... We could make a difference just by holding our emissions steady as our businesses continue to grow. But that doesn't seem to be enough: we want to go all the way to zero. Today, I am announcing our intention to be carbon neutral, across all our businesses, by 2010.

Rupert Murdoch