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Climate change, population growth & Oz Governments

December 15, 2008

Surprise, surprise! The Federal Government has welched on its emissions-cut targets to mitigate climate change.
The Herald Sun reported today that the reason given is that the Rudd Government doesn't believe "the world will get its act together on climate change soon."

The global emergency is being treated like some kind of board game. Why don't they simply cut population growth?

You might just as well ask a bunch of lemmings not to take a running jump.

This is from Monday's ABC radio national PM programme. Kevin Rudd comments on the emissions targets that have just been set: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2446990.htm

" The Prime Minister defends his 2020 target with the option of going higher if the rest of the world moves, saying it's comparable to Europe's response.

KEVIN RUDD: 'The EU's 20 per cent target announced over the weekend is equal to a 24 per cent reduction in emissions for each European from 1990 to 2020. Our five per cent unconditional target is equal to a 27 per cent reduction in carbon pollution for each Australian from 2000 to 2020 and a 34 per cent reduction for each Australian from 1990.

That is because Europe's population is not projected to grow between 1990 and 2020. By contrast Australia's population is projected to grow by 45 per cent over the same period.'

Note that Rudd totally misrepresents what is happening: The growth is 'projected' ... as if it happened all by itself. Europe has cut back on its growth since the first oil shock. Rudd is setting out purposefully to grow Australia's population enormously. It would not grow much at all by itself and, without his interference (despite the interference of Howard), would stabilise and hopefully decline within a couple of generations. People should understand that Rudd is forcing a population growth policy on Australians and is selling it to them by pretending he has no control over it; allowing them to infer that this is a natural phenomenon. It is not. It is a conscious, coercive political policy carried out by the Federal government with the complicity of the States.

Comment on Rudd's speech from a disgusted correspondent on roeoz@yahoogroups.com: "This means that the Labor Party is fully aware that population growth makes it more difficult to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but have decided to grow anyway. Australians will be faced with making larger cuts in living standards than people in Europe in order to feed the growth monster. We will be sacrificed on the altar of the housing industry by a government that represents business before the people."

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Comments

Our "projected" population growth could easily be avoided. Adding more people means more carbon emissions and environmental impacts. However, while people are happy to discuss climate change and ETS, there is a general reluctance to an open debate on population numbers and immigration! Is this "political correctness" or fear of "racism" taunts? Surely our artificially induced population growth rate is the elephant in the room! More people makes it harder to address climate change, and the effects of it potentially more profound and widespread.

We can't expect developing countries to further reduce their lifestyles while we flout our own!

A bulging global population is one of humanity's greatest threats and can easily linked to terrorism, pollution, loss of biodiversity, natural disasters, food shortages and climate change threats.

Environmentalists have argued that the First World's population growth is actually far more of an environmental problem than that of the Third World. China has a one child policy, and about 200 million of India’s population are completely vegetarian . He is continuing to support a population growth set to double from 1990 to 2020, and our livestock industries!

Our population is "projected" to grow by nearly half from 1990 to 2020, not like "stagnant" Europe's. It is not Europe that is "stagnant" but Kevin Rudd's lack of ideas and commitment towards climate change, what in 2007 he called "one of the greatest moral and economic challenges of our time"!

Yes, the thinking of our elites and their political glove puppets, such as Kevin Rudd, appears to have stagnated. Not to grasp that unending population growth combined with the unending growth in the per capita consumption of natural resources on a continent with scarce water resources on a finite planet, is impossible, is indeed, a sign of a stagnant mind.

Notwithstanding that one sixth of India's current population is vegetarian (and hence five sixths are not), I, nevertheless, think that the massive anticipated growth in the middle classes of countries such as India and China do, in fact, represent a greater threat than the growth of European populations, or, indeed North American populations (disregarding immigration). Without China's one-child policy the situation would be far worse than it currently is, but we still face a gravely serious situation as it is.

Clearly the profligate consumption on the part of many Europeans, North Americans and Australians needs to be dramatically reduced, but failure to achieve that should not be held up by Third World elites as an excuse for unsustainable increases in their consumption.

Nor should any failure to contain the increase in consumption by Third World elites be held as an excuse by our elites to reduce their consumption.

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The elite have one over-riding aim. To preserve and possibly elevate that privileged status.

The visible elite are not the dominant elite. The former, the politicians, the pundits, the public and private bureaucrats, the celebrity scientists etc., do the latter's bidding, and do nothing whatsoever to contradict it lest they lose their favor and resultant good fortune amongst the A-lists that nurture mutual benefit whilst implicitly threatening fatal excommunication.

These mandarins all have a lot to lose. Any of them that might have haunting glimpses or thoughts upon basic reality are simply not game to risk that loss by sharing such views in any publicly meaningful way.

A keystone of this bidding is to facilitate, and never effectively oppose, the ongoing growth of the pyramid. The financial matrix of the power system demands that this growth continue. The vitality of its existence depends entirely upon it. This continuance of growth will be pursued and protected for as long it possibly can be kept up with some semblance of functionality, regardless of the pain inflicted and the precious opportunity dashed to pieces.

Expecting Rudd and his ilk to act to halt growth is like exhorting a guppy to rise up and fly. Krudd has his role. He has committed and conformed his entire life to it. As have all of his cohorts.

Well, at least one former Labor minister is asking "What the hell is going on?"

From The Spectator:

Balance population with quality of life

Barry Cohen
Wednesday, 10th December 2008

Unless I’ve been grievously misled, global warming/climate change is caused by the excessive amount of carbon emissions poured into the atmosphere. The major offenders are the developed countries, and the more affluent members of them in particular. Near the top of the list is our good selves with a footprint Ian Thorpe would envy.

And what, I hear you ask, has been Australia’s response? Well for starters, the government has ratified Kyoto; it is developing a carbon trading emissions scheme and is investing in a range of alternative energy proposals, including hybrid cars, solar energy, clean coal, wind and much more. Australia is taking global warming seriously. There are no sceptics or deniers in the Rudd government.

There is one problem. An increasing number of people are finding it difficult to equate our climate change initiatives with our immigration policy. Carbon emissions, we are told, are caused by people and affluent people in particular. Ergo, the more affluent nations are the more carbon emitted. You don’t have to be a climatologist, an economist or a demographer to work that out, you just need an IQ above room temperature.

Part of the solution therefore, and I stress the word ‘part’, would be to reduce or at least stabilise our population. As reduction is nigh on impossible, that leaves stabilisation as the only alternative. And what are we doing to achieve that? Increasing the annual migrant intake to 190,000, which is double the number during the first year of the Howard government. That doesn’t include 100,000 temporary skilled workers allowed in on 457 visas.

One has to be very careful here, for anyone questioning immigration numbers runs the risk of being branded a racist. Nevertheless, I believe it behoves me to ask politely, ‘What the hell is going on?’ If there was a public debate about the level of immigration in the run-up to the last election, I must have missed it. Now, however, we find both government and Coalition united in favour of a dramatic increase in our annual migrant intake.

For 2008-9, the projected figure is 203,800 plus 100,000 on 457 visas. When the Chifley government initiated the post-war immigration programme, the slogan was ‘Populate or Perish’. One justification was that having just fought a ferocious war with Japan, we needed to build up our population to defend Australia against ‘the yellow peril’. The White Australia policy was alive and well. Our population of six and a half million could not justify our occupation of such a vast empty continent. Economies of scale would enable us to produce goods at a lower price and increase our ability to export.

Only the last of these three reasons has any validity today, and even that is questionable. Our export income is no longer dependant on the mass production of consumer goods. Specialised quality production, agriculture, mining, tourism and educational services earn most of our foreign currency.

The latest excuse for increased population is a shortage of skilled labour. Those arguing the case may be right, but in doing so they should answer the following questions: how many of our current unemployed can be trained to fill these jobs? What effort is being made to train unemployed Aborigines in northern Australia where the mining boom is creating demand for the many skilled and highly paid jobs available, or do we believe they are incapable of being trained? If more skilled labour is required, why can’t we cut, at least, temporarily, the numbers brought in under family reunion and humanitarian categories? Halving both categories would reduce the annual intake by 35,000. What impact will the current increase have on our population level? When will we achieve those levels? What then? Where will new migrants live? Where will the water come from to service them?

I could continue, but I’m sure you get my drift. Which brings me to my life-long obsession, that governments never connect the dots between increasing population numbers and the ‘crises’ that daily beset our citizens — congested roads, air and water pollution, prohibitive land prices, housing shortages, overcrowded hospitals and schools and so on. And that’s before the impact of climate change.

Why am I so obsessed? I was born in 1935 when Australia’s population was around five and a half million. When I became an MP in 1969 it was 12 million. It is now 21 million. In my lifetime the population has almost quadrupled.

On 10 June 1970 I asked PM John Gorton for a cost benefit analysis of immigration, and in a speech that followed asked, ‘We all know that if we follow unthinkingly the present immigration programme we will reach any figure we care to name: 25, 50, 100, 200…. The question is, when? Will it be by the year 2000, 2050, 2100, 2200 or 2300?’

The above led to the then minister for immigration, Phillip Lynch, appointing Professor Borrie to lead an inquiry into population. Unfortunately, the Borrie Report, when tabled, avoided the question of numbers. In fact, no federal government has been prepared to answer the following question: How many people can Australia contain and ensure that each and every citizen has a genuine quality of life?

If our population doubles in the next 40 years, as it has done in the past 40, what will life be like in Melbourne with seven million people and Sydney with eight million? The mind boggles.

All these questions must be asked and publicly debated before any attempt is made to substantially increase our population, and certainly before we take the Garnaut Review seriously.