Man-made climate change: a moral issue

Man-made climate change: a moral issue

Michael Gilchrist

Both the alarmists and sceptics of man-made climate change (or global warming) see the question as a moral one. For the alarmists, in particular, it has been a chance to display some form of faith.

These believers claim that, since our planet supposedly faces dangerous temperature increases and rising sea levels over the next 50-100 years, there is a moral obligation on governments and peoples to make huge sacrifices in order to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main driver of increasing global temperatures.

While symbolic acts like Earth Hour or walks against climate change enable true believers to feel they are striking a blow, however modest, the really serious business of inflicting pain must soon be set in train, say the alarmists, if Earth and its inhabitants are to survive into the next century.

While Australia's best efforts may make little or no difference to the quantity of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere worldwide, as long as China and India persist with their coal-fired economic expansions, our nation will at least occupy the moral high ground until others follow our lead.

However, if the so-called scientific consensus on man-made climate change lacks substance, as is increasingly evident, then punitive measures to cut the carbon 'footprints', involving huge increases in fuel and power costs, with all their flow-on effects, will be both futile and masochistic.

Moreover, there is a serious moral dimension, since these measures will impact most on those least able to afford them, e.g., young families, pensioners, and developing countries struggling to raise their living standards.

Before such heavy burdens are imposed, the world's governments and mass media need to filter out the Green hype and focus more on the many scientific experts questioning the basis of man-made climate change.

In this regard, readers might note Cardinal George Pell's comments (page 7) and the exchange of views on man-made climate change (pages 12- 13).

Michael Gilchrist, Editor of AD2000 (email address available on request.

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