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in the hot seat: The Climate Agenda, Misha Schubert, Deborah Gough & Michael Bachelard

The Sunday Age

Walkley-award winning journalist Michael Bachelard led The Sunday Age team investigating the 10 most popular questions on OurSay which was featured in The Sunday Age newspaper and online each week.

You can find a listing of the articles here on the The Sunday Age website.

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Can I know where to see the responses from the Sunday Age?
Tanya Shah · 3 years ago

Most voted questions See all questions

When are we going to hear more about the great elephant in the room - animal agriculture? The CSIRO and the University of Sydney have jointly reported that it is responsible for over 30 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. That's conservative, as it is based on a 100-year time horizon for methane's warming impact. According to the IPCC, methane is far more potent when measured over a 20-year time horizon. Livestock's impact is largely attributable to the inherently inefficient nature of animals as a food source for humans, with onerous demands on resources at every step of the supply chain. A key factor in livestock's emissions is the massive amount of deforestation attributable to grazing and feed crop production, which the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency now ignores in its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Animal agriculture is by far the greatest cause of deforestation globally and in Australia. The world's pre-eminent climate scientist, James Hansen, says we will not overcome climate change without massive reforestation and significant cuts in emissions of non-CO2 climate forcers, such as methane, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone and black carbon. Meaningful action in that regard cannot be achieved without a general move towards a plant-based diet. The livestock sector is becoming more active in alleging its products are benign. The industry's arguments remind me of contributions by Ian Plimer and Bob Carter to the general climate change debate. A key problem is that social and cultural conditioning encourages key decision makers and most climate change activists to overlook the problem. They will happily absorb any propaganda that tells them it is all okay. The Greens say virtually nothing, possibly with one eye on the ballot box and potential scare campaigns by the livestock sector. One argument of the livestock sector is that production animals eat plants and crop residues that we wouldn't. That practice is a key contributor to desertification in Africa, West Asia, the Americas and Australia. If we are to have any chance of avoiding climate change tipping points and keep our planet habitable for humans and wildlife, we must not ignore the livestock issue.

Why is the Australian public asked to swallow the "carbon dioxide is dangerous climate changing pollution" crap when science shows no observed relationship between global climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide? There is no real criticism anywhere and there should be. There is no physical evidence showing a relationship between temperature and C02 only computer models which give different answers according to whatever assumption data you put in. But there IS a VERY close relationship between temperature and solar activity, as shown by the sunspot cycle which has been observed and charted since the time of Galileo. Why are we being forced to reallocate BILLIONS of public money to create unproductive new industries when there is no physical evidence to support the theory? Why, when thousands of respected scientists signed a petition saying they don't agree there is a problem, are we being forced to give up billions in tax dollars to waste on trying to stop carbon dioxide emissions? Are we really rich enough to throw money away on a political vanity when our hospital system is in crisis, our roads need constant upkeep and there are homeless mentally ill people living on the streets? Is this some type of mad keynesian experiment that spending loads of public money on anything, even totally unproductive solar panel farms, will stimulate the economy? It won't! we will just go deeper into debt. The world's economy is unravelling and our taxes are being given to mates of the political left to make wind farms????