Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who wants to be anti intellectual?

A short break from the PIA series to explore the climate of change espoused by Mr Eddie “can we fix it” McGuire1.  Eddie must have some smarts to get where he is but his article (below) has the sharp critical thinking of a football. Eddie makes a good symbol for the anti intellectual “nice guy” reactionary of the Nike “just do it” consumer age. 

Forget the climate-change theory, let's get on with the job

Eddie McGuire, Sunday Herald Sun, January 23, 2011

VICTORIA'S highest- ranking public official, Governor David de Kretser, believes in the effects of climate change.

Victoria's highest elected official, Premier Ted Baillieu, doesn't.

Opinion writer Andrew Bolt flat-out says that climate change is nonsense.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown believes the coal industry should pay for the damage caused by the floods, so obvious is its impact on our weather.

What they all have in common is that they are intelligent, community-minded people.

Unfortunately, climate change is heading the way of religion and football barracking.

It doesn't matter what the evidence or how persuasive you might be, if I believe in my God and that Collingwood is the one true footballing faith, then that's it.

Climate change is either blatantly obvious or a load of rubbish.

So there. Lets just forget ever attempting reasonable or rational approaches. Everything is just un-provable opinion of equal validity.

Now given this unquestionably solid foundation to the start of an argument, its hard to see how sage Eddie can have any idea what, exactly, is “the job” that we should all be getting on with?

I don't care who is right on the cause, it is time to seriously look at the effect.

Yes. Imagine treating disease with only that philosophy in mind. That’s like giving lung cancer patients access to pain killers without questioning the role of cigarettes. And this is where the “lets get on with it and do something” philosophy is dangerous. Without proper consideration of the causes we are at great risk of choosing the wrong “it” to get on with.

Dams, pipelines, catchments, irrigation, whatever - let's put together a realistic infrastructure blueprint for the future that finds the balance between nature and the needs of man. [I find it hard to see where the balance is in these suggestions]

…if this is as bad as it gets in nearly 200 years, let's work backwards from here and figure out what infrastructure, what water releasing mechanisms, damming etc is required to save our people and property.

…how many times can we see people in crisis because they don't have insurance?

Isn't it time for government to compulsorily require a minimum level of home insurance cover for such acts of God?

In the meantime, I don't care what causes these climatic disasters, I don't care that we can never stop an act of God.  Groundhog Day should be a movie - not a way of life.

In the eyes of the Eddies of the world, its all about building stuff – physical infrastructure. Never mind the land clearance in the catchments over the past 200 years, never mind the other changes to water ways – channel straightening, de-snagging.  Never mind that we have long known that building on the flood plain is risky (Those who build on flood plains...). Let’s cement our way to ecological balance.  And when the cement fails – well there's always insurance, right?

This is the philosophy of now, of living in the moment without memory of the past – the Unconscious Civilization. The world is littered with the archeological remains of civilizations adopting some form of reactionary plan to counter the effects of environmental change (see Angkor Wat 1, 2, map). Sometimes those plans have been hampered by the preceding infrastructural investment – until a point was reached where abandonment was the only option. Eddies ignorance of the ecological links between the demise of past cultures makes his last observation somewhat ironic – in that he is probably promoting activity that will hasten not hinder, further environmental damage. But hey, never mind that bollocks, let’s just do something.

1Football commentator and host of "Who wants to be a millionaire".

Sometimes you can tell where an article is going to go merely by the author and Alan Moran never fails to disappoint. According to Alan, spending (subsidies) on solar power is a big fat waste of valuable money - and we should all just carry on as per usual as that's what we've been doing and it suites him fine.
Energy sector wilts under solar stress
The Australian (where else).

...the government's Solar Flagship program aims to provide $1.5bn to assist in the creation of intrinsically uneconomic large-scale solar electricity generation.
Please do not follow the link.

Peak Energy (1,2) has a couple of posts and a Google Search shows that coal and fossil fuels receive gargantuan subsidies that would make most corrupt dictators blush. But you'll hear nary a peep from the "'Director' of deregulation at the Institute of Public Affairs" about that.

Is this the prelude of a campaign to redirect money to the 'struggling' coal industry in the wake of the floods?

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