Australian Chamber Of Commerce And Industry

White Middle Aged Dudes In Denial

I know a lot of green types can be divided into two categories: Cucumbers and Watermelons. Cucumbers are green on the outside and green on the inside, but Watermelons a re only green on the outside and Commie-Red on the inside. I wish there were equivalents in describing the various shades of Climate Change Sceptics. I guess we have to find out what colour climate change denial actually is, before we find the simile.

In the mean time, there’s this little article to ponder in the SMH.

In its timing and language, the statement could not have been better targeted to sink the carbon pollution reduction scheme, described as the ”world’s toughest”. Similar tactics have caused a serious split in the US Chamber of Commerce. Companies including Apple, Nike, Johnson & Johnson and GE quit or broke ranks over a hardline position on climate change, which polls suggest is not representative of business or the community at large.

No such issues in the wide brown land. The chamber’s board is thoroughly representative … of Australian boards in general. It is older, whiter, overwhelmingly male and consensus-driven.

Stepping down after a two-year term as its president on Thursday was Tony Howarth AO (awarded in 2002 for services to banking and finance, and the community), who says if there is a skew on the council it is ”skewed by experience”. Among other things, Howarth is a director of AWB (climate risk: drought) and Wesfarmers (climate risk: burn less coal) and chaired the West Australian gas company Alinta as it went on an acquisition spree in the bull market, leading to a controversial, failed management buyout.

Born in 1951, the father of two sons spoke to Gbiz in his personal capacity about climate change, the carbon pollution reduction scheme and the statement on Thursday. He says the chamber’s general council – including, but not influenced by, the board – was united in its position on the scheme.

”There was a lot of discussion, but there was consensus and strong support.”

He believes Australia should wait and see what happens in Copenhagen, until we know what the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters do. ”There’s no rush,” he says.

Howarth says he is no climate sceptic and will not debate the science of climate change. ”I believe the climate is constantly changing, because the world is a living organism. The world is in a warming period. Human begins are a fantastically adaptable species and will adapt.”

Are humans causing climate change, in his view? ”That requires me to make a scientific judgment. I’m happy to rely on the science that’s produced. Something I do have trouble with is saying the science is settled. The nature of science is it is never settled.”

Does he worry about the environment his children will inherit? ”It’s one of a number of factors that I worry about for my children. I certainly worry about world population. I’m quite fascinated how this debate seems to be around carbon and not population. The world will only cope with so many people.”

Howarth sees possible benefits in a form of constraint on carbon, such as the carbon pollution reduction scheme – but only in theory. Any government decision results in winners, losers and opportunities. ”But I think on a net benefit basis for Australia, by acting early and unilaterally, it has more opportunity to make industry less competitive.”

That whole bit sums up where the so-called captains of industry are seated. They’re not denying they’re climate-change deniers. They just don’t ant to be taxed on their vested positions. A few weeks back, Ross Gittins pointed out how ridiculous their position is, given how modes of business change through time and nobody compensated buggy makers and hate blockers and wicker-chair weavers or Kodak or that matter when the world went about changing the way it did its thing.

So, if you were in the energy business or automotive business or any damn business that burnt fossil fuels to get by, the impact of burning th carbon has been on the agenda for along time. And they’ve gone a good 20-40 years saying, “it’s only theoretical” or “the science isn’t conclusive” through to, “who will we get compensated?”- all the while the science had been in. And yes, it is in.

Yeah, of course, it’s ‘theory’, not ‘fact’. So as I sit here in un-seasonally boiling temperatures, I have to concede ground that theory is not fact while these guys get to go with the status quo until further notice an they’re trying to stave off the ‘further notice’. Yes, I’ve been told  ‘theory’ means it’s not ‘fact’ and no theory ever becomes fact, so why don’t we pretend the abstraction is merely an abstraction with no correlation to reality?

Personally I think it gives too much credit to the epistemological doubt and not enough to science itself, but what the hey? It’s not fact, right? *ugh*

Gittins pointed out you had to be stupid to think ETS legislation wasn’t coming to pass. The amazing thing is the Australian Chamber of Commerce And Industry is still insisting on being stupid. I can only hope the Federal Government shows spine and properly accords carbon credits the prices they should have. They probably won’t because they’re spineless, but that’s another rant for another day.

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