We truly are the lucky country as our Environment Minister is such an extraordinary individual. Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” And our Environment Minister is still functioning, in the way of politicians, in spite of swimming in a (rising) morass of cognitive dissonance.
So, she says, the IPCC report calling upon us to phase out coal power by 2050 is just an opinion. She is certain that a ridiculous number of scientists and papers all agreeing on what needs to be done and when, and the consequences of not doing it, is all just opinion and can safely be ignored as we carry on with business as usual.
And, and this is the kicker, why is she comfortable with Australia and the World carrying on burning coal to make electricity? Well because scientists will find a solution to ensure that the burning coal causes no harm.
Yes, really that’s first-rate stuff: We don’t believe them, but we’re relying on them to save us (as long as it doesn’t involve doing the thing they’re telling us to do).
Our Prime Minster is equally first-rate. When he was questioned on the IPCC Report, his view was simple. He has a Minister responsible for bringing down electricity prices. And he has a Minister responsible for meeting our emission goals. And they are both tremendous people who will do their jobs. Impressive isn’t it?
Sadly, our Deputy Prime Minister is not such a first-rate intelligence. He doesn’t bother trying to hold contradictory ideas in his head – he goes for simplicity, making clear the Government would not change policy:
just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do.
We are truly sitting watching the canary in the mineshaft expiring and saying that it’s only the canary’s opinion that the air is going bad. That’s hard to contemplate. But we’re reaching extraordinary heights when we then turn round and say it’ll all be OK anyway because the canary will save us.
I must admit to taking advantage of F. Scott Fitzgerald here. His fuller quote has a second line:
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
His article was about hope and being able to work through situations that may seem to have no solution. It is actually the very thing we should be clinging to in the face of the utterly depressing spectacle which is our Government’s response to the IPCC Report.
We shouldn’t just give up (and leave our fate in the hands of the first-rate intelligences we currently have in charge). We should do something. And it seems to me that a good start would be to vote for less stellar intelligences that actually believe what they are told by respected scientists and will do something about the warnings before it is too late.