Family First? No

I've been thinking about Stephen Fielding's current stance on the future for our families. Fielding's a Victorian Senator, the Federal parliamentary leader of the Family First Party in Australia, and at present he stands opposed to a potential part-solution to the most pressing problem faced by our families now and in our future. He stands against introduction of a carbon pollution reduction scheme.

I'm working through what his logic must most likely be. I assume he thinks he's putting the interests of families first and I'm trying to figure what his probable rationalisation of that would be.

My own logic runs: IF one is putting families first, ... THEN one acts to protect the interests of families in the long term, i.e. one acts to serve the interests of families both now and into the future.

Fielding's illogic (IMHO) appears to run: IF one is putting families first, ... THEN one acts to serve only their immediate short-term interests, i.e. forget about their likely future situation.

My logic is based on an ethic of concern for long term sustainable human existence on this planet. It's based on the simple logic: IF we don't trash our habitat, ... THEN it continues to be habitable.

Fielding's logic is apparently based on concern for what? IMHO, his chief concern is for his own situation, his political career, and perhaps the perks available after a certain number of years in the Senate.

In recent days, Fielding has effectively stated that he does not accept a correlation between the increased CO2 emissions generated by human activities and change in the climate on our planet. He's going to freeze there like a stick in the mud and refuse to act on reduction of CO2 emissions, unless the correlation is proved to his satisfaction.

I'm at a loss to see how Fielding's stance could be serving the long term interests of families because:

1. IF there is indeed a true and strong correlation between CO2 emission increase rates and global average temperature, but its proof is simply not deemed sufficient by Senator Fielding (erroneously), ... THEN he's got it wrong and, by standing against implementation of a CPRS, he stands to cause families to suffer in future (for generations) due to the impacts upon them of increased frequency, duration, and destructive power of various catastrophic events caused by climate change, e.g. droughts, crop failures, fires, storms, floods, and so on.

2. Given there already is increased frequency, duration and/or destructive power of various catastrophic events at current climatic conditions, IF there is not a strong, but a weak correlation between CO2 emissions and climate change, ... THEN there will still be reason to reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce its effects as a factor contributing to the occurrence of these events ... PLUS THEN we will need to hasten and act to discover and deal with whatever might be the major/other contributory factors.

3. Given there already is increased frequency, duration and/or destructive power of various catastrophic events at current climatic conditions, IF there is not even a weak correlation between CO2 emissions and climate change, ... THEN we will still need to hasten and act to discover and deal with whatever might be the actual contributory factors combining to cause these events and/or learn to live in ways that reduce the impact of such events. The energy-saving result of implementing a carbon pollution reduction scheme still goes toward the longer lifespan of non-renewable resource reserves (i.e. shifting out the peak gives us the benefit of the resources for longer) and thus it is beneficial to families as they'll enjoy some longer run boost to living standards in the future. That boost from the energy saving dividend is likely to be needed in order to offset whatever drag on living standards comes as a result of addressing the presumably unknown true causes of the damaging events we've been through more often now than ever in our known history.

Whichever way I look at it families are more likely to enjoy some longer term, longer lasting benefit if a CPRS is implemented.


  1. agreed; Fielding = fool

     .. not just a fool but worse ...

       .. quite possibly a criminal fool ...

         .. looks like he's grasping at (poisonous!) straws


    G'day orana gelar,

    IMHO the logic is unassailable; the CO2-greenhouse effect is responsible for our 'habitable' climate in the first place; excess CO2 has the potential, if not been proved, to be revving-up the greenhouse effect, causing climate change when not actual global warming.

    The undoubtedly human-caused build-up of CO2 was first measured on top of a high-ish mountain (about 3000m) in the middle of the Pacific - almost as far away from civilisation as it's possible to get, except at the N/S poles - not easy places to work from.

    The CO2-greenhouse effect is like wrapping a blanket around the Earth; it acts to retain heat that would quicker leave to space by radiation. More CO2, more heat retained. Our global weather systems transport this retained heat to the poles, where it may more freely radiate away. More CO2, more heat retained means - ta ra! More weather - see the videos of US storms on TV last night? QED.

    But also as you say, it makes a great deal of sense to conserve everything anyway: it is after all a finite planet; no ifs, ands or buts.

    Sooo, more fool Fielding.


    PS There is a 'but;' a 'cap and trade' system is possibly the only one the detested, erring-ideologue neoliberals will grudgingly accept - which tells us straight away it's the *wrong* system. (Almost everything the erring-ideologue neoliberals are willing to accept are usually simultaneously different ways of making themselves richer by ripping us, we the sheople off.) What we *need* is a carbon tax at source, one which is progressively ramped-up, at least until the CO2 level is returned to 'sustainable,' consistent with returning to then keeping a 'habitable' climate on our once jewel-like planet.

    "The best? Is that the best you can do?"

    It's either get sustainable - or die.

  2. I've come to see that a taxation approach is probably better than a trading scheme (aka market mechanism) for addressing harmful behaviours.

    At the heart of the market mechanism is appeal to greed. The logic applied by *green* supporters of it is that the greedy will turn from profit-seeking on the back of *brown* businesses toward doing the same with *green* businesses, which is supposed to result in *brown* businesses transforming themselves into *green* ones until we've got essentially the same system we do now but without the worst *brown* stuff.

    The logic they miss is that the greedy always look for ways to cheat.

  3. And the big cheat is ...

    All this time wasted in not acting on pollution of our atmosphere and oceans enables polluters to increase the crap they chuck into our air and water before the cap is set. Then they call for grandfathering credit on their current level of crap output.

    On the other hand, IF we'd said we wanted to tax polluters for making so much wasteful pollution, THEN they'd have had incentive to cut the crap asap.

  4. The ways they lie to us, or try to put the shits up us, or both together or worse, are many and varied:

    Defence needs to recognise climate of risk
    Posted June 12, 2009 08:38:00
      «The new defence white paper acknowledges that potential sources of conflict related to our changing climate may give rise to clashes between states over resources.
    The white paper then dismisses the significance of climate security by stating that any large scale strategic consequences of climate change aren't likely before 2030.
    Sea level rises are likely to produce climate refugees with implications for defence involvement in border security, while at home climate change is already leading to more extreme weather events and natural disasters.»
    By a so-called 'expert,' letting us have 'fear and loathing' with both barrels.

    G'day orana gelar,

    Taxing is the perfectly obvious way to go; as you say it's the most direct, and reduces the chances of cheating. But it would need concerted, coordinated action - remarked by its almost total absence. The glaciers are in (fast!) retreat; we can see the Arctic becoming ever less iced, the next 'big thing' could be the 'surging' of Greenland and/or Antarctic glaciers.

    As so-called 'democratic' citizens, basically all we can do is agitate, in the hope that someone will move, sometime, effectively - to save our once jewel-like planet.