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Suzuki blasts Abbott, Rinehart for environmental 'barbarism'

24 September, 2013

In a hard-hitting speech at the University of NSW (UNSW), Canadian environmentalist Dr David Suzuki has criticised the Australian government's policy on climate change and exhorted Australians to embrace renewable energy.

Dr Suzuki delivered the 2013 UNSW Jack Beale Lecture on the Global Environment recently to a packed audience on the topic "Imagining a sustainable future, foresight over hindsight".

He said the actions of the newly-elected federal government had led him to consider changing his talk's title to "The Barbarians have Breached the Gates".

Putting a price on carbon was by far the most effective way to get corporations and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint, he said. By moving to eliminate the carbon price, the prime minister, Tony Abbott, would make this a "politically toxic" issue in Australia for at least a decade.

"And this, of course, is just what corporations have wanted," Dr Suzuki said.

He gave the example of Sweden as a country that has seen its economy grow strongly and greenhouse gas emissions fall sharply following the introduction of a price on carbon.

Dr Suzuki also criticised the new government's decision to shut down the Climate Commission, an independent source of information on climate change.

In Canada, those in power could be sued for "wilful blindness" if they suppressed or ignored vital information, he said.

"That is what Mr Abbott is doing by cancelling the commission, by firing Tim Flannery [its chief commissioner]. It is criminal negligence through wilful blindness."

He also blasted "outrageously rich people", including Australian businesswoman, Gina Rinehart, for helping fund a "campaign of confusion" about the science of climate change.

Many climate sceptics were funded by the fossil fuel industry, he said: "Follow the money and then ask: how credible are they?"

Dr Suzuki said the environmental movement had achieved enormous successes in the 1960s and 70s, but many of the battles fought then — such as stopping dam constructions or the drilling for oil in reserves — were back on the agenda.

"Environmentalism is a way of seeing our place within the biosphere," he said.

"That's what the battles were fought over. The barbarians – that is, many of the politicians and corporate executives that environmentalists have been fighting all these years – are driven by a totally different set of values, by the drive for profit, for growth and for power."

Australians had abundant sunlight and should use this "energy source of the future" to replace coal. With extreme bushfires, loss of half the coral cover of the Great Barrier Reef, and prolonged droughts, Australians should also be "at the ramparts" drawing the world's attention to environmental problems.

"Mother Earth is giving you the signals in Australia, loud and clear," Dr Suzuki said.

He said he still held out hope, however, that it was not too late to change the course of events.

Dr Suzuki concluded: "I believe that if we give nature a chance, nature will be far more forgiving than we deserve" whereupon he received a standing ovation.

Excerpts of Dr David Suzuki's 2013 Jack Beale Lecture at UNSW

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Diarmuid Hannigan | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 9:44 AM
Two Bishops and an Abott now run Australia, The Earth is flat We are all equal You can trust our legal system
HES | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 9:54 AM
Fool, it's over you lost.
Leon | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:06 AM
Suzuki and I are the same age.40 years ago I admired him because he brought to the attention of the world the problems of pollution in the broad sense of the word.It seems to me that David has "hitched his star to the band wagon" of the IPCC, an organisation that has covered itself with a lot of money but not with scientific with glory in the last decade. When science takes on the mantle of "morality" then it starts to behave in the same way as the worlds religious movements and, as we know, that a casualty of "faith and belief" can be the truth. David even decried the possibility that we would find solutions to issues as we go forward. I find this strange when I look back in my lifetime. I wonder if we could put a device on the moon that measured the whole earth temperature in real time. Perhaps even this would not satisfy the fervent believers but it would probably be cheaper than some of the projects precipitated bu "climate change".
dave d | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:17 AM
Isn't it a insult when you have hypocritical people like Suzuki come to Australia from Canada to preach about things here that are occuring in his own back yard. Because his credibility is shot to shreds in Canada he feels the need to come hear and criticise a duly elected Government that have been in office for less than a month. Go Home - but then you would be lonely !!
Bet Stahr | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:26 AM
Suzuki is indeed a great naturalist. He's produced enough bullshit in his lifetime to fertilise most of the world ...... and sold it for a fortune. He's in the same game as Gore.
Graeme | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:28 AM
Obviously David Suzuki has never heard Tim Flannery's outrageous and totally incorrect prophecies on climate change. For that reason alone he needed to be replaced. It must have been very clumsy of us to have lost half of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef!(I thought that it was still there.) Maybe he has not heard that Australia is a land of prolonged droughts and bush fires! I am really over these climate change alarmists
PeterD | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:39 AM
Suzuki claims that "in Canada those in power could sue for willful blindness if they suppressed or ignored vital information" As is typical of the feral section of the environmental movement, they believe that only applies to those that don't agree with them. Where does he get the idea that half the coral cover of the great barrier Reef has gone? Has he ever been there? When Australia had hotter than average temperatures last summer, Canada had much colder than average temperatures at the same time. On his own statement, he should be sued for this. His mate Flannery has no qualifications in environmental science at all- just an alarmist mouthpiece for the previous government. He cynically states that climate sceptics are funded by vested interests, but ignores that the Pew foundation, who were the instigators of the push to shut down fishing in our country are heavily funded by big business in his country. I am glad to see Mr Abbott restoring a more balanced approach than these feral greenies. Should we look to reduce our emissions? - absolutely, but should we accede to foreign crackpots who want to bring our economy to its knees for their own vested interests? - absolutely not!
Glenn | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:39 AM
Here is yet another man who is in the pockets of Politicians and the like who want to keep taxing us to the hilt!...Global warming and cooling has been with us for a long long time, and has very little to do with human beings, but the Sun, and it's effects on this Planet!
Alf | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:41 AM
Is this man a raving lunatic, Who gave him the right to unwantedly criticize any one in the country, He is supposed to be Canadian so go back there an clean up you oil sand problems there before you open your mouth here, It is a proven fact there has been no global warming in 15 years, So where does this false information come from, Out of his head hoping to encourage fear in what the world should be doing ti clean up it mess, nothing more and a clean up we all should do without all this hype but world wide but not to create fear.
David Aspinall | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 12:21 PM
The substitution of solar, wind or wave powered electricity is no only beneficial climatically but will eventually become mire economic.
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 12:52 PM
You are quite correct David Aspinal. My winery has 56 solar panels on the roof working away. Industrial installations of solar power are beginning to boom.. Much more practical than subsidised solar on homes, when no one is at home during the day. What a waste of money.
joe | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 1:25 PM
Very convenient to cite Sweden as an economy that has boomed as a result of carbon pricing. Out here in the real world the economy has done the exact opposite. Does Sweden have any real industry or agriculture?
Katherine | Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 3:58 PM
If some of you think that David Suzuki shouldn't be invited to come here because he lost credibility, let me remind you that last year we had another overseas visitor - "lord" Christopher Monckton who in his own country is treated like a clown. Unfortunately, in this country he found a large audience.
Geoff Thomas | Thursday, September 26, 2013, 7:19 AM
Leon, there already exists the mechanism you want, a world wide network of satellites, and unfortunately for your argument, more heat is going to the earth than coming from it, where is that heat going? - currently it is slowly working it's way deeper and deeper into the oceans and Antarctic ice, - it may be decades before any longer term consequences become apparent, unfortunately it may not be possible to undo the consequences of that. - I have met David Suzuki, he is very impressive, thinks deeply and widely, - you may be the same age as him but looking at your post I suspect you are being rather egotistitic by comparing yourself in any way to him, the only thing you seem capable of is spite and mindless abuse. I know who I am listening to and it is certainly not folk of your ilk.
joe | Friday, September 27, 2013, 12:44 PM
Geoff, I hope you have started doing your bit to reverse the “warming” by using nothing that needs the use of fossil fuels...! So...despite the 100% proven facts that melting glaciers are revealing 400 year old villages in Iceland and 1200 - 2350 year old forests in the Juneau Ice Field, (http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/melting-glacier-exposes-frozen-forest-20130924), you still believe we have something to do with it??? What the abovementioned FACTS obviously reveal is that it is a CYCLE, and over the past 400 years the earth was cooling, and 2000 years ago it was warmer than it is now. Listen to PEOPLE, not SHEEPLE.
Goldie | Saturday, September 28, 2013, 9:44 AM
Suzuki should consider himself privileged to be able to state his opinion at a university in Australia. International climate sceptics and an overseas politician (Gert Wilders) wishing to speak on the Islamisation of his own country were given no such access. Universities which should be places where robust debate is promoted and in fact encouraged also falls victim to political correctness and populism. In our society people like Suzuki should be able to have their say and the not so dumb populous can make up their own minds as to the veracity of their argument and many have.
gordon | Monday, September 30, 2013, 12:34 PM
Geoff, heat working deeper and deeper into our oceans, this a best guess there is no actual evidence of this, nothing peer reviewed its the last stand in an endeavour to explain the lack of warming the barbarians are sitting in your comfy chair with a nice cup of tea white with one sugar Mr Suzuki you should be able to get that right
Katherine | Monday, September 30, 2013, 12:54 PM
Gordon, measuring the temperature and gas concentration in a liquid is not a rocket science. This is basic science. Think of it next time before you decide to send more comments or maybe have a brief course in physics.
Les Parsons | Monday, September 30, 2013, 12:59 PM
I wonder whether Suzuki donate money to Tim Flannery and his new brand of so called Climate experts. Susuki is just about in the same field as Flannery with predictions. It is not mankind causing the Climate Change, but the world still changing since its beginning.
Reality is | Monday, September 30, 2013, 1:22 PM
What I would like all the sceptics to think about is this. Despite the size of the earth, we are still in a closed system with finite resources available to us, finite land, finite water and finite air. This system is a dynamic equilibrium that involves the air, the sea and the soil. It is a continuous cycle of energy transferred through the molecules that make up all systems organic and inorganic. Irrelevant of what is causing the changes to our climate as far as we know there has never been a species on this planet as evolved as the human race, a species with the ability to manipulate our environment to the extent that we can, are all the sceptics out there so selfish and so ignorant to think that they can change our environment without any consideration to the consequences for your children and grand children. If we lose one subsystem out of our ecosystem as a whole it could have consequences enough to wipe out society as we know it today, you only have to look at the loss of bees which are currently at an all time low, only two countries in the world have a significant population of native bees left Australia being one of them and with temperatures getting hotter the bees are struggling, look at the CSIRO data on temperature, look at the droughts in western Queensland still going on despite what the sceptics are saying. So think about this if there is no Bees you can wipe off 65% of the entire worlds food crop........... is it worth the risk? for another mobile phone or flat screen Tv to watch shit like Big brother....
leon | Monday, September 30, 2013, 1:42 PM
There is strong support for the belief that global warming is on hold at present. even the IPCC seems equivocal now. I am disappointed that words like "spite" and "abuse" are part of this discussion lexicon. Light rather than heat should be our aim. I like Goldie's view and I was of the opinion that my previous comments fell within the parameters of robust discussion. while satellite measurement is interesting the nature of orbits leave a lot of un-tracked area and there is a lot of "normalizing" of the data whatever that really means. measuring the earth as a single source radiator effectively integrates the whole surface at a point in time. if we are talking global then probably we should measure globally. As for working its way deeper into the oceans and arctic ice I am unable to understand the thermal equations that this implies. Any warming of the oceans globally would be evidenced and measurable at the surface and there is unlikely to be a thermal gradient that shows that the oceans are hotter when we go deeper. the world has had its fill of extreme reactions to sparse evidence.
gordon | Monday, September 30, 2013, 1:53 PM
The ocean ate my homework Katherine we already know that the climate models cant simulate the coupled ocean atmosphere process to cause global sea temps to warm over multidecadal periods so the difference between land and sea temperature warming rates suggests that the underlying physics is skewed lets stick to the facts hypothetical unproved guess work sorry it doesn't agree with your religion
joe | Monday, September 30, 2013, 2:22 PM
Has anyone ever stopped to think how puny man actually is? It would takes us hundreds if not thousands of years to produce as many emissions as a single volcanic eruption. To believe that humans have any control over climate change is a display of Godlessness
Diarmuid Hannigan | Monday, September 30, 2013, 7:08 PM
Any one who has studied complex dynamic systems understands that some small changes on these systems can have dramatic effects. Our atmosphere is a very fine meniscus and it make up must influence the heat transfer dynamics of our planet and will influence the surface temperature. There are various buffers on planet earth so as to maintain stability. There are various mechanisms working within our atmosphere that also impact on the heat transfer including ocean, wind and the amount of cloud cover, apart from our ice sheets. By placing hydro carbons into our atmosphere at an ever increasing rate inevitably causes the atmosphere to absorb more heat. Heat being transferred into the atmosphere from the sun via its absorption into carbon particles and also heat escaping from the earths core, We know the ice caps are melting because of the every increasing deposits of carbon which absorb sunlight and are melting the ice. We know this influx of water is mixing with the salt ladened ocean currents that dissipate heat from the equator, we know that this fresh water dilution is reducing the efficiency of the salt pumps that operate these currents. When these currents stagnate their will be massive amounts evaporation required to dissipate the heat at the equator. This heat will create massive storms and massive cloud cover which will be transferred to the poles this transition is the beginning of an ice age, We also know that an ice age is always precluded by the carbon content of the atmosphere reaching a certain level. Normally about 250 ppm, We are somewhere around 350pmm. We also know that large complex dynamic systems due to their own inertia are time dependant in their responses to inputs such as the changing of the chemical content of our atmosphere. We also know that if we change an input to these systems at a faster rate and we are doing so with the rate at which we have been introducing carbon to our atmosphere, this increases the risk of destabilising these types of systems. Basic thermodynamics will support all of this so please tell me why As I said at the beginning and now towards the end: the country is run by two bishops and an abbot, the earth is flat, we are all equal and you can trust a lawyer.
Katherine | Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 9:25 AM
Gordon, science is not about creating computer models using people's imagination, it's based on facts, proven facts. You stick to your religion as you don't understand the basics of scientific work. Joe, the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere from volcanoes is about one hundredth of that arising from human activities, but more important factor is that volcanoes can inject aerosols into the stratosphere which has a cooling effect. The impact of aerosols on Earth's temperature is an important part of the latest report produced by the IPCC.
George Znoj | Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 12:05 AM
How many Barrels of Oil are consumed EVery Day... about 20 Million barrels per day world wide! Do the math please. If anyone thinks that pulling out & Burning decomposed trees (Oil/Coal) that were buried for thousands of years is Natural, are truly misinformed and living in Denial.
Diarmuid Hannigan | Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 9:58 AM
Too right George. That is the carbon stored for millions of years by nature being spewed into our delicate atmosphere and is forming a blanket around our planet which inevitably will respond to protect itself. When it does it will not be thinking about the welfare of humanity it will be doing it so as to look after the planet. It will most likely end up in our demise as was the case with the dinosaurs,
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 11:03 AM
Katherine, your research may have been selective. Further analysis might be informative: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/
Geoff Thomas | Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 9:53 AM
Hi Colin, I read your link article, and I must say that it is a bit typical of Denialist literature, - no I should say, it sounds like some one who has already made up their mind or been paid to, doubting everything, taking said doubt as proof and affirmation of the contrary view. Yes there are items to debate, clarify, substantiate, maybe some could actually be wrong! - but that doesn't imply the person with the fixed contrary view has the right of it, particularly with no actual facts, research, basis for asseverated figures or claims, including trustworthy graphs and such normal production of such as happens in the articles so glibly dismissed. One author measured 10% of 3.5 million volcanoes and found a very small fraction of carbon being emitted, your author, Timothy, claimed that measurement wrong because the largest volcanoes were not included. Given that most of them erupted long ago it is not possible to include them but that didn’t stop Timothy ‘estimating’ huge percentages of carbon dioxide from them. He also estimates a much higher percentage of carbon dioxide in magma, I suspect by taking all the rock in the crust and dividing it by all the carbon in the world as neither basalt nor granite contain measurable carbon, and volcanos rarely come up through the old sedimentary beds containing coal and oil etc. He carries on a great deal about subduction volcanoes, where continental plates are going under other continental plates, and indeed those volcanoes could be emitting carbon as the coal etc is burnt at that high temperature. The Australian plate is being subducted, at about 3.5mm per year so in many hundreds of thousands or millions of years the Australian coalfields may be forced into the crust. I doubt there will be any coal in them by then at the rate we are digging it up. However, Timothy has missed the whole point there, volcanic activity has been occurring for yonks, the carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes has always been being emitted, of whatever quantity, - the Earth biosphere was coping with it, that is not causing the amount of carbon dioxide to rise, it is our digging up the carbon and burning it that is causing the percentage to creep up. At one point Timothy argues that extra volcanic activity is occurring, so human activity is not the cause but at another later point he admits volcanic activity is currently relatively quiescent but claims that that is because human beings are letting carbon dioxide come up out of volcanic areas so that eruptions need not occur. At that point I vowed I would never employ this “Consulting Geologist” to do any geological work for me even if I only had to pay “estimated” (by me) wages :)
ddande | Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 10:38 AM
Umm doesn't this sound like Suzuki? "like some one who has already made up their mind or been paid to" Please - it works both ways !!
Geoff Thomas | Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 11:58 AM
I think accusing Suzuki of corruption is a bit suss, but as to making up his mind I guess, based on the recent IPCC 5th assessment, what he is doing is pointing out the damage the Govt is doing, he believes, to Australia's climate effort. On the face of it, it seems he could be right, but on the other hand if the Liberal party dethrones the Jesuit, then Malcolm Turnbull would probably do more than Kevin Rudd.
Colin Spencer | Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 5:20 PM
Geoff and others: Remember this vital principle and you will see why the Libs will achieve far better reduction of emissions than a carbon tax could achieve: "There is always a better way".
Goldie | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 9:06 AM
The facts are the IPCC nor anyone else really knows what's going on. People have a right to be sceptical of human induced global warming as the predictions that have been made so far by our own "experts" have proven to be false. Flannery told us all a few years back that we would not see our dams full again and essentially the place would dry up and blow away. His attempted scaremongering, an agenda of the then Federal government has proven to be wrong and neither he nor his political masters will recant a thing. Remember the old shampoo ad from years ago where the jingle was " it won't happen over night but it will happen" , this, or words to that effect are what we hear when something does not go to script. The climate commission has been rightfully abolished as it did nothing to educate Australians about climate change. It did plenty however to try and scare people into conformity with the governments view on this issue and to try and give validity to the tax we were never supposed to have. As I have said before Suzuki and his ilk think they have the right to go around the world lambasting anyone who dares speak against their particular view, something which has also taken hold here in Australia on almost any subject. He has the right to an opinion just as the naysayers do and it is about time 'the converted' accepted that. Finally, is it mere coincidence that the latest IPCC report reaffirming imminent doom comes hot on the heels of their report which says there has been little to no movement in global temperature in the last 15 years. There may be changes taking place but many including myself remain unconvinced that humans are the cause, but having said that I respect the right of people to disagree.
ddande | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 9:38 AM
Well said Goldie.I agree and to my old mate Colin there is also a saying that "there is always someone who THINK they know better"
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 10:31 AM
ddande, my friend, "and there are those who will never discover for themselves"
ddande | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 10:48 AM
Agreed Colin "touche!"
gordon | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 10:59 AM
Hear hear Goldie science is about questioning Remember the hole in the ozone layer we all used roll on deodorant, disaster catastrophe er no the acid rain in Europe going to denude forests er nope wrong again they flourished scepticism is healthy tis it not
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 2:48 PM
Mother nature teaches us a lesson every day. Remember when the Climate Change Commissioner had half of the front page of The Age to tell us that we would not see the rivers recover, the dams would never fill again, and we should get used to drought conditions? Three months later it came down in buckets and has kept going since. Lake Eyre normally fills once every 7 years, it filled and has stayed full for four years now. Nature rules! Harness nature and you will have discovered the secrets of our environment. We are just a passing inconvenience.
Glenn | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 2:59 PM
Interestingly enough, the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune are going through climate shifts as well!....and last time I looked there was not much Industrial activity going on there!...The Sun and Moon governs our Weather changes more than any other reason!
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 3:32 PM
Geeez Glen! You do get about! I think I get your drift, though. We are but an insignificant bit of dust, in the grand design of things. Still, it is an enjoyable pass-time to find ways to use and pay for less energy.
Geoff Thomas | Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6:12 PM
Hi Goldie, so we have found that Colin Spencer was mistaken/wrong about his volcano stuff, - do you re-think your assumptions?
Glenn | Thursday, October 10, 2013, 12:49 PM
We can spend billions or trillions of dollars to try and fix or hold back what cannot be fixed or held back! Our Sun is NOT a constant star, but is in fact a variable star, and these variations can be measured in variable times, such as decades, centuries or even longer!.The instability of the Earth's weather goes far beyond human-kinds contribution, be it for good or for ill!.We live on a very fragile system, and if the Sun plays up, we will feel the results on a whole lot of levels!
Alf | Thursday, October 10, 2013, 2:19 PM
How is this for an assumption, The world spins on an axis from north to south, and rotates the same as anything a gyro does to keep its balance , Now what IF we take oil and coal away from this or we removed some of the liquid in the gyro what will happen ? The whole thing loses some of its balance because we have removed its counter weight. Right or wrong . Just a thought.
Alf | Saturday, October 19, 2013, 4:48 PM
All of this discussion is about carbon correct, Now what is carbon to my knowledge the most common that they complain about is smoke from burnt fuels, petrol coal burning trees and most common fuels this gas when cooled and dried becomes a solid that in time will return to earth and become dust and mix with the soil, to my knowledge this process has been in action since the world began, I acknowledge we need to clean up our act, but imposing taxes is not the answer, fine the culprits or close them down, but taxes only get passed back to the consumer and nothing is ever cleaned up, remember the Parramatta river and the Yarra to thick to swim in and to thin to walk on, now today both a great why because large fines for dumping not taxes.And boys please dont forget we need ten new policies for small business to start this political party on OUR behalf.
Reality is | Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 8:00 PM
Like the mad monk says CO2 is plant food isn't it? With sunlight water and CO2 plants grow right? Tell me sceptics what do plants do at night to produce energy? or when they are stressed what he fails to say is that all plants go into respiration like humans do, they produce CO2 like we do, can you trust someone who simplifies something as a complex an exchange of energy as our ecosystem and environment is with a ridiculous ignorant statement as we need to make more CO2 its plant food trees will grow more.....but that's right as far as the religious brainwashed believe the Earth is only 7000 years old and was made by a white male in 7 days so why should we bother with trying to balance our existence in Nature. God and is Catholic priesthood will fix it all for us, you can trust catholic priests cant you? you can trust Jesuit monks cant you? They would never do anything to hurt anybody especially your children, they love children. God will forgive your greed and your gluttony so just stuff another bigmac in your mouth and don't worry about it.............
Katherine | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 9:38 AM
Alf, carbon tax is equivalent to large fines for dumping waste, and it works. Direct action is funded by taxpayers, meaning that on your energy bill you will not see the relevant message. Your tax money will be allocated to big CO2 polluters who will be asked kindly to reduce pollution.
Alf | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 11:13 AM
All that will happen is what is occurring now, Threats are in place so they pass on the estimated costs to the public and then do nothing except collect a fund to be used if required, as for the comment it works it does not and that I know, It is all about greed and another source of revenue. And on another subject what is to be achieved, what is our world percentage of pollution .05 of one percent, concentrate on the US China and the others before we get involved, We are to small economically to punish our economy with crap like this, maybe in fifty years if we are lucky, we will have the factories and people to support it.And we keep Labor away for that time before they close us all down.
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 11:15 AM
"Reality is", how about going to Google to see what plants do? They emit oxygen at night, and during the day they convert carbon dioxide into matter by photosynthesis. The more sunlight you give them combined with more CO2, and they grow much bigger and faster. Laboratory trials can be viewed to demonstrate this. But, you are possibly more interested in senseless denigration and bigotry, going by your nonsense above. Stick to biology and leave theology to the dreamers.
Colin Spencer | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 11:25 AM
Katherine, the incentive approach could produce faster and superior results when it comes to achieving a reduction in emissions. In reality, it is not the carbon dioxide that we worry about, it is the emissions that are measured as a comparison with carbon dioxide that we need to attend to urgently. Some fluorocarbon refrigerants on the phase out list are equal to thousands of tonnes of CO2 per tonne emitted. So, pollution needs to be reduced. Incentives to install commercial solar systems are the biggest opportunity. Generate power on site during the working day when demand is peaking. Taxes don't work as incentives, they are mostly punitive and deliver a negative result. Or, economic slowdown.
Graeme | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 1:34 PM
Colin is correct re the plants. During the last 12 - 18 months there was a report from I believe a CSIRO scientist. He stated that to test the effect of CO2 on eucalyptus trees they built an area completely cut off from normal conditions and pumped in CO2. The result was that the trees absolutely loved it! They grew like crazy. In fact, I read another report that stated higher levels of CO2 would most likely cause rain forests to form.
Geoff Thomas | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 2:14 PM
Graeme, Colin is provisionally correct re the plants, - in some, (notably desertish) environments, there is not enough Carbon Dioxide, - a bit more and they grow, - then there is not enough water, - more water, they grow, then there is not enough nutrients, - add nutrients, they grow even more, keep adding and you will get (given available seeds etc) Rainforest. However, generally speaking there is too much carbon dioxide in rainforests, - already too much in the soil, so no need for it in the atmosphere. Cheers, Geoff.
Think | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 3:23 PM
Here's a thought; When trees get too old, they stop depleting carbon dioxide levels, and just breathe in during the day and out during the night, meaning their effect is neutralised. In the past, trees which got to this stage were harvested in this country, and put to excellent use as building materials, meaning that the forests were always growing, always depleting carbon. This industry was sustainable and good for the economy and the environment. Then some hare-brained alarmists decided that the forests needed to be locked up. National parks were created, and whole towns lost their source of livelihood. As a result, our forests are all clogged with old dead and dying trees which are not only carbon neutral, but are acually releasing carbon dioxide as they decompose. The loggers are not allowed to remove these older trees to make way for fresh young trees. Not only that, these National Parks are all bushfires waiting to happen. (has anyone calculated the emissions of a bushfire?)
Geoff Thomas | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 3:59 PM
Aargh, thoughtless, that is not thinking, you are talking about Old Growth forests, thousands of years old, not recent forests, hardly any of them left now, and rare sources of biodiversity. Yes, all else being equal, (does that ever happen?) Very old growth forests can reach that equilibrium, but for the next umpteen years, after you cut them down, that huge accumulated carbon reserve in the soil evaporates into the atmosphere. In the meantime, most of the wood harvested is burnt or lost to mould or whatever, - how many folk have Queen Anne book cases that you have met lately? The old growth forests are usually immune to bushfires, but once bushfires get into them, (adjacent clearing) they are usually RS. The whole towns lost their livelihood because they had chopped down almost all the trees, (typical human short sighted behaviour) but blamed their loss of livelihood because there was still a tiny remnant they could not get at, even though that would have only given them a few more months or weeks, find any body to blame except your own short sighted greed. Govts have not helped, generally speaking, but which Govt could be blamed for the Sahara Desert? - oh yes, blame the goats! - perhaps the origin of the word Scapegoat?
Geoff Thomas | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 4:08 PM
Alf, whilst i agree that the OZ share is small, pro rata, ie for each person, it is not small for each person, it is right up there number one or two on the world average, - if everyone in the world behaved like Ozzies our planet would be closer to Venus and already there would be no humans. Should we be living because other people are less greedy than us? Will they stay less greedy because there are a smaller number of us being greedy than them? - No, they will think they should be allowed to be as greedy as us because we are so greedy already so it must be OK.
Les Parsons | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 4:12 PM
Agree fully with Think. Quite a few times I have cut down a large old tree, and the small trees around it really start to grow. Have a look at how many areas of forest, including Rain Forests have been logged by two, sometimes three generations, and then left untouched. It takes an expert to see where the logging had taken place, as the regrowth is amazing, and sucking in CO2 mile ahead of old growth trees, and of course giving much more oxygen .
Deejay | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 4:46 PM
Goodness gracious. This topic has rattled a few cages. answer the question of Suzuki's credibility in his own country, then let him throw CO2 at other countries.
Geoff Thomas | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 5:10 PM
Think should be part of Think it Through, what causes the rapid growth? and also Think Widely, huge areas of the world, including virtually the whole of northern Australia have vastly less forest than before the white men came, - which was vastly less than that before the black men came, to be fair, - in fact it was almost all rainforest, - what percentage is rainforest now you deep thinkers? Think!
Think | Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 5:15 PM
Graeme, how about you talk to some old hands in the game before making unfounded accusations. True, in Brazil and such like, they are indiscriminately ripping through acres upon acres of virgin forest. The forestry industry in Southern NSW however, worked quite differently. For a start you will find that the gum forests along the Murray river near Deniliquin where actually planted by white men to provide building materials. The first explorers in the area described it as a swamp, definitely no forests. The logging was then carried out discriminately, or selectively, and trees which were at the end of their prime were harvested before they died and became a burden on the environment. These trees were then milled and put to good use as framing timber for example, and not Queen Anne furniture. The forests were not on the verge of extinction, but were being sustainably managed and providing resources and livelihood for Australians. Now they are out of bounds and the people who looked after them and depended on them for their source of income are bitterly watching them clog up the waterways and become a fester on the landscape. Maybe the only answer is for Humans to become extinct since they are not allowed to work the land and provide food for their families?
Graeme | Thursday, November 7, 2013, 8:41 AM
Geoff, the CSIRO experiment was not in the desert but in a CSIRO suburban facility. The gum trees loved the extra CO2 and grew like crazy. The comment was that additional CO2 in the atmosphere would result in more rainforests (new ones) growing because of the additional CO2
Colin Spencer | Thursday, November 7, 2013, 4:08 PM
Geoff: We need to take care not to believe the dodgy statistic about Australians having the highest per-capita output of CO2. That is only because, with a land mass comparable to that of China and the USA without Alaska Australia has an infinitesimal population. There is almost no one here by comparison, but being a developed country, we have all of the economic benefits that accrue to that status. Our contribution to pollution on a world scale is extremely low, considering the size of our country and its high state of development. In fact, higher levels of CO2 would enhance Australia's plant growth, if anything. But, alas, air quality we measure in Australia is not all that relevant, as it is blown off shore in a matter of days or hours. Around 10% of the world's population is in the southern hemisphere, so the real problems with pollution are in the northern half. By developing smarter technologies, using more renewable energy resources and taking up innovative technologies as fast as possible, we can do much more per capita than populations in the northern hemisphere can. When it comes to creating a clean environment. Punitive taxes retard growth and employment as they are just another overhead cost burden on business. There is a tipping point when industries move to undeveloped countries that environment. Incentives to change work very quickly and cost the community far less than recycled carbon taxes can.
Think | Thursday, November 7, 2013, 4:38 PM
Sorry Graeme, my last comment should have been directed to Geoff.
Deejay | Thursday, November 7, 2013, 5:40 PM
with all the hyperventilating going on on this issue, i wonder if Suzi could be lambasted for barbarianism for getting so many people pumped up to a spitting frenzy. Its been funny to watch, but surely everyone has pumped enough CO2 into this discussion to warrant growing a new rainforest. come on every one, plant a tree and feel better :)
Katherine | Friday, November 8, 2013, 4:11 PM
Yes, Think Humans are facing their extinction, but being the most adaptable to changes in the whole animal world this process will take some time. Our bodies cannot function outside this one specific eco system and the environment, we live in total symbiosis with the surrounding world e.g microbes that live inside and outside our bodies outnumber the body cells 10:1. It is super naïve to think that we can dictate the conditions, change the environment and not suffer the consequences. Once the environment is damaged, this most recent human invention called "economy" will seize to exist, next we are gone. (Or earlier , who knows?)All we need to exist is clean air, food and clean water. Economy will destroy this planet and the live as we know it.