組長的話
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After all the shock associated with climate change are we beginning to experience the bore factor? Are the warnings becoming so frequent, and so very apocalyptic, that they have lost the capacity to arrest the public conscience? 

Are we suffering already from "green fatigue", whereby we start treating interim, draft and final reports like white noise: something which is disturbing, even painful, but which we try to block out? Or are the warnings exaggerated?

Here in Australia the question is particularly pertinent, since the economist Ross Garnaut has just delivered his long-awaited draft report on how climate change could affect the Australian economy and outlined the case for a carbon emissions trading scheme by 2010. 

Like the accomplished and politically astute economist that he is, Garnaut deployed numbers and statistics to maximum effect. If climate change went unchecked, he warned that by the end of the century:

  • an extra 4,000 Queenslanders would die each year from heat-related deaths
  • an extra 5.5 million Australians would contract dengue fever annually
  • that the Great Barrier Reef would die
  • a potential 90% reduction in water flows in the Murray-Darling river basin, which irrigates the nation's food bowl, would lead to the collapse of agricultural production.

In short, he was arguing that global warming presents an existential threat to the Australian way of life.

Judging from some early responses, these dire warnings about global warming have left many here cold. Here's Michael Costa, the treasurer of New South Wales and a senior figure in the Australian Labor Party: "Chicken Little arguments are no substitute for getting right the important details on issues of far reaching consequence... For example, claims from some quarters that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed if Australia, which emits less than 2% of global greenhouse gases, does not adopt an ETS [emissions trading scheme] are patent nonsense." A number of senior climatologists have also questioned the science underpinning his warnings.

Then there those from what might be called the protectionist camp, who argue that the kind of broad-based emissions trading which Garnaut is advocating would be an act of economic vandalism. Here's Alan Wood, the retiring economics editor of The Australian:
"If Australia moves ahead of the rest of the world to curb carbon emissions, there will be no benefit to Australia or the world but a potentially very high cost to us."

Critics of Garnaut argue that Australia emits just 1% of world emissions, and that what it does is essentially irrelevant without concerted action from India and China. The counter-argument is that Australia's per capita emissions are the highest in the OECD, that it is the world's largest exporter of coal and, like any responsible country, it has a moral compulsion to act.

No wonder Ross Garnaut called this policy problem so very "diabolical".

Potentially it also presents a diabolical political problem for Kevin Rudd, whose government is committed to launching an emissions trading scheme by 2010. That is also the year when he is likely to face re-election.

Rudd's approval rating has already has dropped to 54%, his lowest point since the election, partly because of rising fuel costs. A further hike on the eve of the next election as a result of the introduction of an emissions trading scheme might damage him further.

Again, the alternative view is that this kind of major reform could boost him, by burnishing his green credentials and demonstrating brave leadership. A recent poll suggested that voters prefer it when Rudd focuses on big ideas and grand visions rather than scrappy, day-to-day politics. 

His predecessor as prime minister also offers a useful historical lesson. At the1998 election, John Howard won respect, along with a second term in office, by campaigning for the unpopular GST sales tax.

Last November, it was fashionable, especially in the international media, to headline the federal poll the "climate change election". Given the importance of Workchoices, John Howard's unpopular labour reforms, not to mention the question of whether a 68-year-old prime minister should be granted a fifth term in office, that was surely an exaggeration. But the 2010 election could easily be lassoed with that tagline. 

So will Australians then be suffering from "green fatigue"? Or will the dramatic issue of climate change infuse them with the fierce urgency of now?

Apocalyptic (a.) 啟示的

Whereby (adv.) 藉以

Green fatigue (不知道什麼意思耶!是綠色疲勞嗎?)

Interim (n.) 過渡時期

white noise (是白色噪音嗎?)

block out 概略畫出

exaggerated (a.) 誇張的;言過其實的

pertinent (a.) 恰當的;貼切的

long-awaited (a.) 盼望已久的

carbon emissions trading scheme 碳排放物貿易計畫

astute (a.) 敏銳的;精明的

Queenslanders (不知道這是什麼? =”=是某種動物名稱嗎?)

dengue fever 登革熱

Great Barrier Reef (不知道這是什麼? =”= 大型礁堡嗎?)

In short 總之

Patent (a.) 有專利的

Underpinning (n.) 支撐

broad-based (a.) 無限的

protectionist (n.) 貿易保護主義者

vandalism (n.) 有意破壞文化藝術行為

per capita 每人

OECD = Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 經濟合作發展組織

Compulsion (n.) 被強迫 (+ to)

Diabolical (a.) 惡魔的;殘忍的

Launching (n.) 創建

Reform (v.) 改正:改良

Credentials (n.) 國書

Poll (n.) 民意調查

Scrappy (a.) 零碎的

Infuse with鼓舞

Fierce (a.) 極度的

紅色的地方都是不太了解的~~麻煩大家幫幫忙 

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  • digibravo
  • white noise :白噪聲,白噪音(指收音機或電視機未調好頻道前發出的噪音)。
    Queenslanders:應該是昆士蘭的居民吧。
    Great Barrier Reef :大礁堡,是澳洲景點。