Do we care, Bill McKibben?

I’m sure that most Cats will agree that The Age has completely lost the plot.

But, seriously, why would any Australian give a toss that American climatologist poseur, Bill McKibben, maintains that Tony Abbott’s climate policy makes him cringe.

Say it slowly: we don’t care.

Here’s is some of McKibben’s own truly cringe-worthy and mawkish prose.

Less so Tony Abbott, who is Bushian to the max. Last week he journeyed to Texas, where he gave a talk to some oilmen who awarded him a ten-gallon Stetson hat. Upon donning it he said ‘yee ha’. Really.

Abbott’s only real concern is protecting Australia’s world-topping coal industry, whose expansion plans would make it utterly impossible to bring climate change under control. You would think Abbott might have noticed this – his continent is located closer than almost anyone else’s to the Antarctic, where scientists last month offered definitive proof that melting glaciers have committed the planet to an extra three metres of sea level rise. But instead Abbott’s travelling the world to try to stop international efforts to combat global warming. In Texas, he told his audience we must prevent the “ostracizing of any particular fuel”, as if he were the global ambassador of coal, determined to prevent his favourite hydrocarbon from having to take a back seat to what his Treasurer recently referred to as “utterly offensive” wind turbines.

Stephen Harper, Abbott’s Canadian counterpart, is just as dangerously single-minded. Harper’s particular joy is not coal but tar-sands oil, perhaps the only fuel source that’s just as foul. A former oil company executive, he’s turned the country’s diplomatic corps into salesmen of the dirtiest petroleum on earth, and in general treated the rest of his great nation as if it were a grubby convenience store tacked on to his Alberta gas station. It’s gotten so bad that hundreds of scientists in white lab coats marched on Ottawa recently to protest his attacks on environmental regulations and scientific monitoring.

Because Canada and Australia have mostly benign and productive histories on the international scene, it will take a while for most world citizens to catch up with their new status. But those who are paying attention know already. Last year, for instance, the staid and venerable journal Foreign Policy began its cover story on Canada noting that it was now a “reckless, rogue petrostate”. Those radicals at The Economistcalled Harper a bully “intolerant of criticism and dissent”. Australia and its obsessive effort to keep King Coal alive despite its key contribution to climate change is getting similar international attention with the likes of Deutsche Bank and HSBC announcing they would not invest in projects that would bring coal through the Great Barrier Reef as planned.

All of this matters mightily. These men are decades behind the science – Abbott plans to combat climate change by planting trees, which would work better if his country was not by now battling constant drought and record heat – and they’re trying to blow up international negotiations in Paris next year. Canada has already renounced its treaty commitments and Abbott promises no new commitments. That could be enough to derail any agreement. Both Canada’s tar sands and Australia’s coal would then fill the atmosphere with enough carbon that it wouldn’t matter what their successors did. This new Axis of Carbon is a great threat to all of us.

The good news is that their extremism has spawned widespread resistance in both countries. Indigenous Canadians (First Nation) and coastal residents of British Columbia have so far blocked plans for tar-sands pipelines to the Pacific. Last week a mass walk-on at the site of the largest Australian coalmine under construction at Maules Creek helped force a serious delay in the project. Financiers are starting to question their visions for the future: one multinational last month shelved plans for a $10 billion tar-sands expansion plan, and at least half the new coalmines set for Australia are currently blocked. Instead, investors are looking at countries like Germany, where one day earlier this spring the country generated 74 per cent of its power from renewable sources.

Germany is what the future looks like. The leaders of Canada and Australia – highly educated, sophisticated, and wealthy nations, not to mention some of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth – are clinging to the past, on behalf of the fossil fuel industries that dominate their governments. Eventually (and hopefully before the planet’s physics are completely out of control) voters in these countries will realise they’re being driven off a cliff. In the meantime, perhaps they might want to pretend they’re Americans when traveling abroad.

 

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33 Responses to Do we care, Bill McKibben?

  1. Infidel Tiger

    Germany is what the future looks like.

    A nation that invented toilets with a ledge so that the sausage smugglers could examine their stool after abluting.

  2. Notafan

    Stoke thos. coal fires closest to the Antarctic Tone, get that ice amelting.
    I haven’t noticed that three metre rise in Melbourne yet, howlong must I wait?.
    And isn’t Germany building a bunch of new coal fired power plants right this very minute?

  3. nerblnob

    Germany is what the future looks like

    LOL. Another forgettable future. The Greens are going to be so wrong-footed by Germany.

  4. Robbo

    I saw McKibben’s crappy little piece in The Age and noted that the paper carefully avoided asking people for online comment. No doubt they realised that even the most rusted on leftie of their small band of readers would find it hard to defend the idiocy of the content. McKibben should be putting his efforts into trying to persuade his own leader to stop destroying the USA, but of course he is so stupid that he probably thinks Obama is doing a great job

  5. Peewhit

    Energy density in the fuel is the future. Nuclear is the next step, on the way to the stellar ideal of releasing the energy in the hydrogen atom. If it is good enough for stars, how can we criticize the system.

  6. Infidel Tiger

    Germany (1933) is what the future looks like.

  7. Andrew

    Is McGibbon the wide-eyed loon who looks like the Hale-Bopp Comet guy? Or am I thinking of someone else?

  8. Frank

    …that American climatologist poseur, Bill McKibben…

    He is a journalist with no formal science background. Less credible than Monbiot.

  9. Snoopy

    Germany (1933) is what the future looks like.

    But the uniforms won’t look nearly so good.

  10. john of dandenong

    The unhinged idiot is not worth more than 10 words.

  11. Rob MW

    Leave Bill alone…….at the very least he/it/whatever makes everyone one else on this planet look sane. That’s 19 words – 7 dots – 2 forward slashes and 1 full stop.

  12. Token

    The cultural cringe and general inferiority complex of the low self esteem left has never died.

    Imagine what they will feel like when they realise no one outside of Australia cares less.

  13. Empire

    Terrorist. To Gitmo wif dee.

  14. Disillusioned

    Rob MW

    #1351916, posted on June 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Leave Bill alone…….at the very least he/it/whatever makes everyone one else on this planet look sane. That’s 19 words – 7 dots – 2 forward slashes and 1 full stop.

    Are talking about Bill Shorten by chance?

  15. Martin

    We would be back in the Dark Ages, literally, if the world was full of Lefties.

  16. MsDolittle

    Germany is what the future looks like.

    A nation that invented toilets with a ledge so that the sausage smugglers could examine their stool after abluting.

    I, for one, never go anywhere without my Bristol Stool Scale.

  17. Crossie

    Here’s is some of McKibben’s own truly cringe-worthy and mawkish prose.

    Life’s too short.

  18. DB

    As usual, Bill McKibben is light on facts. While Australia may be the leading exporter of coking coal, we account for just 5% of global coal production. Following is list of countries by 2012 coal production:
    1. China 3,549 Mt
    2. United States 935 Mt
    3. India 595 Mt
    4. Indonesia 443 Mt
    5. Australia 421 Mt (5% of work production of 7,831 Mt)
    Not exactly a “world-topping” effort by Australia is it Bill? Get acquainted with some facts at http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/.

  19. Porcelain Monkey

    Germany is what the future looks like.

    Would that be the Germany which is constructing coal-fired power stations?

  20. Porcelain Monkey

    If I recall correctly, like our esteemed Flannery, McKibben has an arts degree. He is not an ‘ologist’ of any sort.

  21. Most Australians agree with McGibbon.
    63% believe Australia should take a leadership role on reducing emissions.

  22. Joe Goodacre

    The calls for urgent action seem to be increasing the longer the planet doesn’t warm from 1997. Instead of saying – ‘good, we had more time than we thought – let’s get more data in before doing anything rash’ they rant and rave about time running out even more.

    The tide has shifted in this debate – people like Bill who once had some element of credibility now look like a zealot to ordinary people.

  23. Bruce of Newcastle

    Only 43% take McKibben’s line in that poll Numbers, which tallies well with the rusted-on core of the Greens and ALP Left. They will always parrot the party line without thought or research, since to do otherwise would be thoughtcrime.

  24. incoherent rambler

    before the planet’s physics are completely out of control

    The planet’s physics are not about to change anytime soon.

    The laws of physics do not change at the whim of Gaia, y’know, whatever …

    Idiocracy is here, now.

  25. cohenite

    Energy density in the fuel is the future.

    Agreed. But dense mentality now is making that future slip away.

    How ironic. Numbers is claiming numbers are with him.

    The idea that human emissions of CO2 are destroying the planet is so vain. Only true incarnations of the great King Canute could believe it. Numbers obviously does. And numbers believes Australia should lead the way in reducing emissions. Well, you lead the way numbers; every human breathes in air with a concentration of CO2 of 400ppm of CO2; every human, even you numbers, breathes out air with a concentration of CO2 of 6000ppm.

    You know what you have to do numbers, so start holding your breath.

  26. incoherent rambler

    Reporting CO2 as 400 ppm is part of the problem, 400 is a big number.
    Report it as 0.04%, the AGW madness immediately solved, with a small number.

  27. .

    63% believe Australia should take a leadership role on reducing emissions.

    Fuck off you clown.

    The Australian Greens will never form government.

  28. nerblnob

    Only true incarnations of the great King Canute could believe it.

    Not that I was there at the time, but I always understood Cnut’s objective (note trendy faux-historical spelling) was to show that humans couldn’t turn back the tides or the waves, as a rebuke to arrogance of those who thought the king had such powers..

  29. Des Deskperson

    The New York Review of Books recently published a gushing review of some of McKibben’s works, describing him as a ‘great guy’, not a phrase one would normally expect from a magazine whose role is presumably to provide sophisticated intellectual critique.

    The review included the usual David Levine cartoon, but instead of the standard and often cruel caricature, McKibbon was depicted in a laudatory portrait, handsome, clean-cut and smiling, looking like a born-again Christian summer camp counsellor, though this probably wasn’t quite the intention.

    He seems to have a lot of mates among US East Coast liberals.

  30. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    I think numbers gets his 63 percaent from the old Soviet Electoral Commisariat,the people who used to give the communist party 107.6 per cent of the vote in the “elections” they conducted,bolshevism is not dead!

  31. brc

    He can say what he likes, but lots of Americans look wistfully across the pacific and north of the border and say ‘why can’t we have as many jobs as those guys’.

    Some Americans have discovered how to… by drilling holes in the ground and getting the gas and oil out.

    Germany? Not so much. The entire German renewables experiment is already dead – the corpse left twitching. Of course, it will be the poster child for the next 10 years.

    I’ll say this though – you don’t want to run into one of McKibbens radicalised supporters in an online discussion forum. The amount of fact-free dogma they spew has to be seen to be believed. If there was one on this thread, there would be 100 links to ‘science’ to prove how they are right.

    Try telling them the forecast sea level rise for the rest of this century is a mere 10 inches, and see what sort of frothing response you get.

    America is in dire need of a Ronald Reagan to rally the troops and make the fools like foolish.

    Oh, and Greg Hunt, get cracking on those mine approvals and get them open. The coal isn’t going to mine itself.

  32. .

    Dr.Sir Fred Lenin
    #1352210, posted on June 19, 2014 at 9:34 am
    I think numbers gets his 63 percaent from the old Soviet Electoral Commisariat,the people who used to give the communist party 107.6 per cent of the vote in the “elections” they conducted,bolshevism is not dead!

    Ahh, but old nana Scroggins who voted 987 times for Cathy McGowan certainly is!

  33. Steve D

    So, when are we getting the unlimited autobahns and competent drivers?

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