Climate Change: Where to from here?

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
File version

Version of Record (VoR)

Author(s)
Lowe, Ian
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2018
Size
File type(s)
Location
License
Abstract

Forty years ago, I analysed Australia's future energy alternatives in the very first issue of 'Social Alternatives' (Lowe 1977). This was a few years after the 'energy crisis' of the early 1970s, so the oil price had already increased in five years from under two dollars a barrel to about ten dollars. The consequent price inflation had also destabilised most elected governments. The phenomenon of 'stagflation' - inflation without economic growth - discredited Keynesian economics and kickstarted the Chicago Schools' great leap backwards to the neo-liberal economic theories that have done untold damage. Although the oil crisis demonstrated that Hubbert's 1956 theory of 'peak oil' was correct, most decision-makers chose to ignore it. I argued that the future would demand a move away from petroleum fuels as they inevitably became more expensive. My discussion did not include any reference to climate change, which only became an issue outside the small community of relevant scientists after the 1985 Villach conference. Within a few years, it became clear that climate change was significant and would demand a new approach to energy supply and use (Lowe 1989). Vested interests and extremely conservative politicians have prolonged the fossil fuel industry for another three decades, largely through carefully orchestrated misinformation, but rapid change is now occurring at the global and local level. While an optimist might think that even Coalition governments will have to bow to the inevitable, the fixation with growth remains a fundamental obstacle. I will summarise the developments in climate science and the changing politics of climate change in Australia, before speculating on the future prospects.

Journal Title

Social Alternatives

Conference Title
Book Title
Edition
Volume

37

Issue

2

Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
DOI
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

This work is covered by copyright. You must assume that re-use is limited to personal use and that permission from the copyright owner must be obtained for all other uses. If the document is available under a specified licence, refer to the licence for details of permitted re-use. If you believe that this work infringes copyright please make a copyright takedown request using the form at https://www.griffith.edu.au/copyright-matters.

Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject
Persistent link to this record
Citation

Lowe, I, Climate Change: Where to from here?, Social Alternatives, 2018, 37 (2), pp. 31-34

Collections