The Australian has today published my letter on Bishop’s comments at the Lima Conference (see below) but it omitted the important last para drawing attention to the acknowledgement by the IPCC that there is “continued uncertainty about the severity and timing of climate change impacts”. Why isn’t Bishop drawing attention to that and adding that Australia’s own assessment is that the uncertainties do not warrant a binding agreement but require an assessment of the extent of the uncertainties by experts not involved with the IPCC?
One possibility is that Bishop has insufficient understanding of the now widespread scepticism about global warming and the adverse economic effects from attempts to reduce emissions. For a start, the implication of her suggestion that China’s size removes it from being a developing country overlooks the fact that China has the 85th lowest per capita in the World Bank’s list (PPP basis). Australia’s is 3.6 times bigger. Note that the heading in the AFR’s published version – “Aust V China at Climate Talks” – differs markedly from that in the digital version -“Bishop talks up RET on the global stage”. Her suggestion that the division between developing/developed be abandoned altogether also looks naive, in more ways than one.
But there is also the possibility that her support at Lima for a legally binding agreement, and her talking up there of the RET as Hunt seeks to “negotiate” on its level, may indicate that the Abbott government has decided that it will not question the need to reduce emissions. The article in today’s Australian below – Ring the political changes – certainly implies that Abbott himself may have decided (been told to?) to adopt a different strategy.
What that might be remains to be seen. But it is not likely to reduce the pessimistic attitude now existing among many Liberal supporters.