Climate sceptics or colonists?

The Editor, The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland

20 October, 2013

Dear Editor:

Colin Espiner describes the flaccid climate change policies (non-policy, really) of the governments of John Key and Tony Abbot as evidence they have formed “a small but powerful subcommittee of the Climate Change Sceptics Society .” (6 Oct. “United states of scepticism”)   But you don’t have to be a climate science sceptic to oppose attempts to mitigate the possible catastrophe described by climate scientists.

For example, many of the branches of the Tea Party in the United States complain that many of the promoters of significant action on climate change are those who see that the changes necessary to combat climate disruption involve severe reduction on individual (and global corporate) freedom to exploit the planet and other peoples, with a consequential shrinking of the “consumer society”.  These changes are what is most unacceptable to these Tea Party-ers, not the science.  It’s a matter of priorities.

Espiner says “we get the governments we deserve.”  That is a good topic for discussion in New Zealand.  Perhaps our mythic history of being “clean and green” enables us to understand better than most that fundamental changes are required to avoid climate disaster.   But our social history of being an exploitative colonial society may have a deeper influence on our national character than the more democratic leanings which have developed here.  If so, it may be expected that we, like the Tea Party, would be among those most unwilling to adopt required actions on climate change.


Richard Keller

published 27 October, 2013


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