Someone needs to help me out. I am have trouble following the climate change debate over the past couple of days.
To begin, let me accept a premise: scientific experts know what they are talking about and we should accept what they say in respect of their disciplines. So when I read this, quoting IPCC lead author Professor Andy Pitman …
“The science is uncertain, but it’s uncertain in the range of 25 to 50 per cent, not 5 per cent or 10 per cent or 15 per cent,” he said.
“It needs to be much deeper than that if we want to avoid dangerous, anthropogenic climate change.”
… I figure that is what the world needs to do to avert the problem; although I also figure that will be for the future and not immediately as IPCC says that climate change is already occurring and will take many decades to reverse.
But when the same person says this …
Professor Pitman said Australia should be leading by example.
“We actually do need international leadership,” he said.
“I think it is an opportunity for Australia to show that leadership, I think we’ve missed that opportunity in the short term.
“But that doesn’t stop the Prime Minister showing that leadership perhaps in Copenhagen later in the year.”
… that seems like a statement from political science or negotiation science. It is not a statement from climate change science. Professor Pitman isn’t an expert in that. In hundreds of publications not a single one related to that question.
But perhaps he is making that statement on the basis from someone who is. So here is my question: is it true that a small country by sacrificing much in the name of ‘setting an example’ can actually get the world to follow? I can’t think of a single instance in any arena of international negotiation let alone a systematic analysis of successful and unsuccessful leadership strategies in this field. But I am not an expert in political science, leadership or a field that might inform on this issue and so am happy to be guided towards that evidence.