I don’t talk about politics as opinions are personal, but when politics include climate change mitigation, I have to do so.
The victory yesterday of the Labour Party in Australia is very good news. The country will ratify the Kyoto Protocol and will also be present at the Bali talks in December to prepare the future of this protocol .
Australia was so far one of the last countries with the United States not to have ratified Kyoto which is only the first small step of climate change mitigation.
A few days before the beginning of these negotiations, this proves to be an excellent news for the fight against global warming and for this I would like to congratulate the new Australian Premier and his country.
As Associated Press states :
Newly elected leader Kevin Rudd moved quickly Sunday to bring Australia into international talks on fighting global warming, and to head off potentially thorny relations with the United States and key Asian neighbors.
The emphatic victory for Rudd’s Labor Party swings Australia toward the political left after almost 12 years of conservative rule, and puts it at odds with key security ally Washington on two crucial policy issues – Iraq and global warming.
The day after sweeping to power in general elections, Rudd went straight into work mode, holding meetings with government officials about the mechanics of signing the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Britain, New Zealand and Indonesia noted that Rudd’s election would boost international efforts to address climate change — ousted Prime Minister John Howard had refused to sign the Kyoto pact.
Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat, also talked with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accepting his invitation to attend a December U.N. meeting in Bali to map out the world’s next steps against climate change.
Indeed, the country’s electricity is generated by 88,87 percent by fossil fuels ; hydro accounts for 7.98 and other renewables for 1.68 percent.
The importance of coal can be explained by the fact that the country has huge reserves of this highly polluting material and is exporting tremendous amounts of it to China and India.
As I stated in a previous article, nuclear is not popular at all in Australia. However, replacing a few coal-fired plants by nuclear ones would be the single most effective way to cut local carbon dioxide emissions.
When I look at this CARMA page displaying the large amounts of CO2 emitted by the biggest electricity facilities of the country, I can’t but help thinking about nuclear fission to solve the problem.
The question we all have to ask ourselves is what is the most urgent topic of all in sustainable development ? The climate change threat is a huge one and could endanger Australia and all other countries in the very next years or decades.
Dividing our total emissions by a factor two before 2050 is according to the IPCC a sheer minimum. To be out of harm’s way would require more to cut them by three.
To exemplify my point of view on nuclear, I am currently reading James Lovelock‘s latest book, the Revenge of Gaïa.
In this book, the eminent ecologist explained that in front of the urgency represented by global warming, only nuclear can cut in a fast and cheap way our greenhouse gases emissions.
I will write an article on this very interesting book as soon as I finished reading it. I will edit this post and will make a quick link to the article.
To conclude, France launched last month a program called the Grenelle de l’Environnement (see article) which is due to decrease local greenhouse gases emissions and energy needs in an important way via strong energy efficiency policies.
A similar project in Australia would be a great thing… I look forward to read – and talk about – how Australia will mitigate climate change.