1.5 Degrees

### Reader’s Letter to The Guardian, 3rd April 2021 ### …

Dear Editor,

Graham Readfern and Adam Morton ask whether the Australian Academy of Science is right in concluding that meeting the Paris goal (of avoiding 1.5C heating) is “virtually impossible” (The Guardian, 2nd April 2021, Link below).

Unfortunately the article seems to miss the point and, for me, Joe Biden’s response alone confirms that there is no chance whatsoever of us meeting those goals.

First there are the two trillion dollars that he wants to make available. I would say that this is irrelevant because it is not “what you pay” (or promise to pay) but rather “what you do” that counts.

And even more important than “what you do” is “what you don’t do”: Scaling back energy- and resource- hungry activities (i.e. putting the brakes on rampant consumerism) is far more effective and immediate than financing future “techno-fixes”. But that option is almost never discussed.

Indeed …

Rather than structuring our cities, our society and our lives so that we can access our needs (work, education & shopping) on foot, by bicycle or on public transport we prefer to pretend that electric cars (which pollute both indirectly and in other, even more toxic ways) will solve the problem.

Rather than building modest, multi-family homes (low-rise flats) which, by their very nature, provide their own insulation and can be easily served by public transport, we prefer to slap cladding on over-sized, sprawling, individual, suburban, air-conditioned pseudo-luxury.

I will only change my pessimistic opinion when politicians start talking about clear (and painful!) taxation and regulation on our irresponsible, consumerist behaviour. But they refuse to do that and instead pretend that “pennies (or dollars) from heaven” will solve the problem. So I remain deeply pessimistic.

Alan Mitcham

Link to original article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/03/every-choice-matters-can-we-cling-to-hope-of-avoiding-15c-heating






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