One attitude change that might help would be a re-evaluation of nuclear, which is emission-free but hobbled by public fears
I was watching a TV news report on the wildfires in Australia the other day when the announcer suddenly veered off on a tangent.
Until then the report had focused on the astounding images: people huddling on beaches or bobbing offshore on boats, desperately spraying homes with garden hoses against backdrops of burnt-orange skies out of an apocalyptic nightmare.
No doubt there was more to tell, but without warning the host launched into a finger-pointing session on global warming. There was nothing new or different, more a case of claiming victory. Hah, people are suffering! See! We were right! Admit it, this is all your fault!
Australia is definitely vulnerable on the emissions front. Coal is easily the worst means of producing mass power. Canada uses it for just nine per cent of its total, and is working to reduce that. Britain, once a kingdom fuelled by coal, now burns it for less than three per cent of its power.
Even in Donald Trump’s America — where the president pledged to make coal great again — production hit a 40-year low in 2019, accounting for about 25 per cent of electricity generation.
Australia, in contrast, generates three-quarters of its electricity from coal, and exports tons more to other enthusiastic coal-burning countries like China and Japan. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who spent the first few days of the crisis vacationing in Hawaii and returned to be heckled while touring fire-ravaged neighbourhoods, won re-election in May on a pro-coal platform, and says it would be “reckless” to change now.