Saturday, September 23, 2023

Australian Bush Fires and Climate Change Politics

The Australian government claims existing policies are on course to meet the commitments of a 26-28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. Australia, unlike Canada, easily met its targets from the previous climate treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Though Australia signed onto less demanding targets than Canada, these were achieved because land clearance was banned with a cost to landowners of $200 billion, for which no compensation was paid. The Canadian Government was urged to follow a similar course but, rightly, decided this was unconscionable and excessively expensive, if not constitutionally improper, so Canada reneged on its Kyoto commitment.

For the future, Canada’s integration with the US economy means it has little option but to follow similar policies. The direction of President Trump’s climate and energy policies is clear and will dictate those of Canada, irrespective of Ottawa’s preferences. Australia has fewer such external disciplines and is therefore hostage to special interest groups and activists.

As for forest fires, the cure is simple – clear the forest floor of debris by burning in accord with forest experts’ recommendations – and prosecute for criminal negligence those politicians and officials that have prevented this.

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