Although when I checked rainfall in Central Chile was not as bad as I feared this June, this is due entirely to one big fall in the first week of August – in a year when rainfalls closer to or even above the virgin mean were forecast. Moreover, in Perth the situation is as bad as ever, with rainfall barely above the virgin record low.
News of records like this, unfortunately, is not absorbed permanently by the Enriched World – which often takes a “blame yourself” route re global warming that modern ecologists show demonstrably counterproductive. Enriched World ecology permits much greater energy consumption and more lenient greenhouse standards than required of Australia (especially given greater genuine local energy need in cold weather). Yet, based upon directly and indirectly created greenhouse emissions Enriched World per capita emissions average a mere two percent those of Australia – and even based upon only directly created emissions they average less than a quarter Australia’s per capita emissions.
For genuine environmental justice that reflects relative ecological energy availability – direct and indirect Australian emissions must be cut by several orders of magnitude before Enriched World reductions are so much as assessed. One “zooty2shoes” said last February that:
“But I question your figures – everything I have accessed points to the Gulf states and Brunei as being the worst offenders with Australia a distance behind at 5th per capita. And with 1.3% of the worlds total, it would take 15 years of Australia’s greenhouse emissions to tie with China.”
The Enriched and Tropical Worlds have a clear need to do the following:
- momentarily forget about their own greenhouse emissions – which per capita direct and indirect are small compared to the mineral-rich desert states of the Indian Rim
- when the much lower energy consumptions of native species in the desert states are factored in, the smallness of Enriched World emissions is further emphasised
- similarly if possible those of Southern Africa and the Arab Gulf States, though cultural and political differences are much greater than even with Australia, and may make this far less practical than an attempt with Australia
- direct payment for the right to pollute could potentially be more effective with these nations and even with Australia, although it would be difficult to finance
- the trouble is how to make these payments large enough to alter the main polluters’ behaviour
European beliefs their nations’ own technologies can reduce global emissions are similarly flawed: their lack of lithophile metal reserves (destroyed by the Alpine Orogeny and glaciation) acts as an extreme natural limit to their potential emissions absent in today’s major greenhouse polluters. By moving towards a carbon-free economy the EU and related nations may actually be turning themselves into an exclusive club whose taxes and living costs only the most skilled workers can afford. Absence of economic opportunities for the less-skilled no doubt contributes to lowest-low fertility in much of Eurasia – a severe political problem because making families valuable would require huge, politically impossible reductions in their lavish “Daddy States”.
Another trouble is that the richest nations of the Enriched World who would not benefit most from a rigid “polluter pays” approach to global warming. Rather, it is the Tropical World and lower latitudes of the Enriched, along with the farm and tourism sectors in the Unenriched World, who would so benefit.
Nonetheless, all the Enriched World has reason to support groups like southwestern Australian urban dwellers and Chilean cities who have lost their rain to a rapid expansion of the Hadley Circulation or high-desert people who have lost glacier-fed water supplies. If greenhouse emissions from the key polluters like Australia and South Africa grow unchecked, the higher latitudes of the Enriched World could be faced with the same problems currently affecting its equatorward edges and the Tropical World. Northern Europe, East Asia and North America have ecologically – as Tom McMahon showed in his seminal 1991 Global Runoff – much more in common with potentially badly-hit low-income tropical and Mediterranean nations that with Australia, who constitutes a cuckoo in the OECD’s nest.
Petty quarrels over differences in living standards must be replaced by unity based on similarity in ecology. In its absence, international energy policy remains silently controlled by the very nations responsible for expanding the Hadley circulation and melting glaciers.