Fossil Fuels, Global Warming and Democracy
Fossil Fuels, Global Warming and Democracy: A Report from a Scene of the Collision
Perspectives vol 10
The Australian experience in confronting the reality of climate change and the enormity of its implications has been characterised by highly charged rhetoric, dashed hopes and flawed delivery.
The paper, Climate Change in a New Democratic Age: Why we need more, not less, democratic participation, by Dr Randal Stewart offers a timely examination of the role of three key groups in the climate change debate – scientists, economists, and the bureaucracy – as the lens through which to consider the capacity of democratic decision-making processes to establish effective climate change policy. While recognising the general frustration, he counters the view that democracy is floundering. His observation of the flaws to date, far from being deflating, give rise to a reasoned affirmation that ‘democracy will save the planet’ but only if we take it seriously.
The challenge is real and if we are to tackle climate change it will demand the creation of a common purpose. This can only be built on informed and responsible public discourse, inclusive processes and a keen understanding of the practical realities of converting good policy into effective action. Dr Stewart’s paper is offered as a further contribution to such a discourse.