The Kyoto treaty effectively expired a year ago. Prospects for a replacement are virtually zero. Rich nations are rejecting climate compensation for the developing world. Europe is in a coal frenzy. Germany, a former green trend-setter, is slashing unaffordable subsidies to the renewables industry. The European Parliament is losing confidence in the EU emissions trading scheme. No Asian nation has an emission trading scheme in operation. China’s and India’s net emissions are growing dramatically and governments, most recently Japan’s, are abandoning earlier pledges to reduce their nations’ carbon footprints. Even US Democrats, notwithstanding President Obama’s direct action-style energy plan, won’t pass modest carbon-pricing bills in the Congress. Add to this those debunked predictions (remember the vanishing Himalayan glaciers, disappearing North Polar ice cap?), and it is clear that Tim Flannery’s moment has come and gone.
Meanwhile, 2013 marked the 15th year of flat-lined global surface temperatures, despite record levels of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere since 1998. And as the US shale “fracking” revolution shows, the most efficient way to cut emissions is not via command-and-control regulation but by allowing private drillers to expand natural gas production.
Of course, the environmental doomsayers remain apocalyptic.
When they abuse, intimidate and victimise anyone with the temerity to criticise the fanaticism of their movement, the inclination of ordinary Australians is either to shrug their shoulders with a profound lack of interest or to grimace at this moral grandstanding.