Australia’s climate policy is held hostage by a recalcitrant and unrepresentative National party over an ineffectual policy that won’t come into effect until 2050.

The National Party holds 16 seats in the House of Representatives in Federal Parliament. That is slightly over 10% of the seats. At the last election, they managed just 4% of the vote.

Yet they are dictating to the Liberal party the terms of Australia’s climate policy supported by the coal mining industry led by Gina Reinhardt.

Barnaby Joyce said it was important to support coal mining because fossil fuels are Australia’s biggest export.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty, file photo

Ironically, the policy doesn’t amount to much. It’s looking at a target of zero emissions by 2050.

It’s just slightly later than the time when the nuclear powered Enterprise class submarines will arrive.

The problem with a target like this, is so much can happen between now and 2050.

This is a graph of a very simple simulation designed to demonstrate the effect of a reduction in emissions over a 30-year period with a slight increase in the earth’s ability to absorb carbon through an increase in carbon sink capacity. This is slightly optimistic given the deforestation that is occurring in Indonesia and in the Amazon basin.

Carbon in the atmosphere does not begin to reduce until around 2040. This is the point at which the amount going into the atmosphere is less than the amount being absorbed by the carbon sink. The point with two graph lines intersect.

This is because there is a lag before the policy takes effect.

The problem, is that very few people understand this particular dynamic.

By then ( 2050 and when people understand this dynamic), all the people involved in the debate will be dead.

My grandchildren will be in their late 30s. Global warming will have submerged most of the islands of the Pacific. The house I live in RichmondAll will probably be under water.

Most scientists would estimate that serious reductions in carbon emissions will need to take place by the middle of this decade and that this will involve a serious transition to carbon neutral power generation.

If we can achieve serious carbon reduction this decade, we can reach zero omissions by the middle of next decade, that will give bus a serious chance of limiting global warming

If you would like to read some more on global warming click the link below.

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