Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dear Senator Fielding...

Dear Senator Fielding,

I note your recent attendance at a conference of Climate Change skeptics in the USA and I complement you on your attempts to understand the arguments for and against humans-influenced climate change. However I would like to offer a perspective on the debate to which I don't believe you have yet been exposed.

As an engineer, I take a risk management view of these things, and it comes down to two basic things:
  • Impact of Risk
  • Likelihood of risk.
If a risk is of low likelihood, but high impact, then any engineer - whether running a mine site, factory or power station, will do all they can to reduce the chance of that risk happening.

What climate change comes down to is a matter of probability. Most scientists agree that the likelihood of climate change being caused by humans is high. However even if you personally believe the chance of this is low - let's say 25%, then given that the impact of climate change is massive, far reaching and devastating, I believe this likelihood still warrants urgent action by all governments internationally.

A few other notes,
  • Australia is not going it alone - we are trailing many countries with regards to our actions on climate change and need to catch up.
  • Even if we were going it alone, then that does not change the morality of the issue, and the fact that we need to take action, however small proportionally.
  • The argument that we don't need to take urgent action because we are only a small proportion of world emissions is childish - on a per capita basis, we are at the top of the list, and I use the example of other crime - the argument that 'everyone else is doing it' has no impact on the personal or local morality of any issue.
Senator, please consider my arguments. I trust you will respond appropriately to this issue and work with the government to come up with a good climate change policy and emissions trading scheme.

Kind Regards,
Brad Schultz