Tim Dunlop has been writing recently about the tendency for politicians, commentators and industry groups to focus on the negatives associated with addressing climate change. He notes that the US rhetoric tends to be more positive, both from Democrats (e.g., Obama) and Republicans (e.g., the Governator).
This SMH column highlights that there might be a solid foundation for the same sort of optimism here at home. Not only could it be a more effective communications strategy for the Government, but UN energy specialist Arek Sinanian suggests there are reasons for the optimism:
“I think we have enormous opportunities here,” he says. “I get really annoyed at the rhetoric and the commentary going on about the cost of this and the cost of that. What I’m thinking of is the other side of the coin or the other side of the equation – that is, the opportunities.
“We’ve got a lot of expertise in the country that we can sell and what I’d like this Government to do … is to develop our science and technology to then sell to other countries.
“I think as a nation we need to give the signal to our governments that it’s OK to dedicate a couple of billion dollars towards this because it’s going to benefit us for decades to come.”
He argues Australia is in a privileged position because the world is looking for alternatives to burning fossil fuels.
“And guess who has a lot of knowledge and intellectual capital to capitalise on this,” he asks.
“Australia. We do. We really are a clever country. We punch way above our weight when it comes to scientific knowledge, engineering knowledge, engineering renewable energy resources and ideas and technology.
“We haven’t done that well in putting that technology into practice but we have it – we have a lot of answers that we can provide, dare I say sell, to China and India and Indonesia and Malaysia and … all those countries that are wanting to grow and expand and develop. We can tell them how to do it perhaps more cleverly than we did it ourselves.”
It’s enough to make you contemplate that, with a Government with a real commitment to both tackling climate change and capitalising on our research capacity (education revolution, anyone?), we can help to get the job done.