Confronting Climate Change Deniers – Fallacy 2: Let’s wait for the big guys

Fallacy 2: Unless big emitters take action, we should do nothing

Continuing my reading of Mark Diesendorf’s new book, Climate Action, I now turn to the second fallacy he presents, which Big Mark (or MD) summarises as follows:

“Since most countries each emit less than 2 percent of global greenhouse has emissions, the fallacy goes that reducing emissions would have negligible international impacts” p.36

If you believe this, then you would argue that we should simply wait for the USA and China to take action and then follow.

Response: If I was writing this book, I would simply respond to this statement with the words, ‘You are joking, right?’ I would also have a picture of my friend Sunny stare at you (she has these scary and incredulous eyes). I mean, imagine we took that view with human rights, universal healthcare, voting rights or a market economy? We would still be waiting…

Thankfully, MD is somewhat more articulate than me and makes a number of important points.

To begin by reminding us that the European Union has rejected this view (thank goodness) and, therefore, we have seen a coordinated response. Despite this, it is an argument we see used by recalcitrant elements in Australia.

Importantly, there is a vital international political impact of Australia taking the lead on reduction targets: we are after all the world’s largest per capita greenhouse gas emitter. Such a position would show leadership and also highlight how transition is possible (which MD clearly shows it is). This position could well force countries to the party (as other international conventions have – be they environmental or economic) – including the USA.

Furthermore, it is a obvious that developed countries, who have benefitted most from high carbon economies, need to take substantial action as a pre-condition for bringing developing countries to the table. (I would add that this is also a matter of justice).

Ok, that is all for this one… as always, feedback welcomed…

Cheers, james

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