Abolition of Climate Commission, IPCC report, and social equity

The most challenging and distressing report that I read this year was the World Bank’s Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided.  Click here for report.

The report presented a forensic analysis of the potential impact of climate change on a range of environments across the globe and considered the social implications of these changes.

Given the currency of the World Bank report, it is hard to believe that over the course of 2013 Australia had an election campaign in which political parties sought to outbid each other on policy to diminish carbon pricing, with the winner of course being the highest bidder – the Coalition with Mr. Tony Abbott now PM.

So it is fittingly ironical again that within a couple of weeks of a new Australian Government with a strong anti-carbon tax policy and broad climate change denial outlook, that the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change delivers its withering verdict and prognosis on human induced climate change. Further irony is cemented with the Government’s abolition of the Climate Commission.

There are a number of articles in the Conversation this week on the IPCC  report.

As a social researcher, my questions turn to those raised by the World Bank about the social effects of climate change. The greatest concerns are that the worst impacts will be felt by those already in the poorest and most marginal circumstances. This brings to mind another compelling World Bank report  produced at the end of the 1990s – Crying out for Change – Voices of the Poor. Click here for reportIt is one of the most powerful treatises I have read in recent years on the sufferings of large portions of humanity.

A little less reported but worth noting nevertheless, the Government has also closed the Social Inclusion Unit last week,

A significant concern for anyone working in social research, is that the denial of climate science and the facts of climate change, may also translate to denial of uncomfortable truths such as increased poverty and social exclusion. 

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