Reflections on the future
The keynote address at the LGMA State Conference was delivered by Phillip Adams, well known columnist and broadcaster. He said in spite of the fact that we have just finished a century where 150 million people died in wars or genocide which is still continuing – it is global warming that poses our greatest threat. Pointing to the USA with both Katrina and, at the time, the fast approaching Rita, he said that water temperatures in the Gulf had reached boiling point for hurricanes/cyclones and there will be more and more of them.
“Australia is facing the same with unprecedented storms predicted,” Phillip Adams said. “Yet we are stuffing around with the terrorist threat.”
Suggesting that George Bush is a greater disaster than “100 Katrinas”, he said individually we have very little chance of being involved in a terrorist attack – the real problem is ecological catastrophe.
“The next world war will be fought over water not oil,” he said. “There are tensions up and down rivers all over the world. Climate change comes and goes slowly over thousands of years. What we have done is accelerate climate change 30 times.
“In New Orleans, it was known this was coming. The levee systems had dried out the wetlands and caused them to sink further plus remodelling of the coastline through development meant that all planning decisions over the past 100 years were wrong. This was all known but had been put into the too hard basket.”
He said in the short term increased petrol prices means trade will become more expensive. Local food will become a priority with increased transport costs.
“China and India with their combined populations of three billion have burst into the world economy increasing demands for oil,” he said. “Yet government investment in alternatives such as solar has all but dried up. Locally we must be doing more about solar energy.”
Phillip Adams said that this is scary. Unprecedented climate change means temperatures will keep rising.
“Displacement of population and refugees is just beginning,” he said. “The few thousand who have come here in an attempt to escape persecution in the Middle East is nothing in comparison.” He said the Pacific Islands will be the first to disappear, then the Indian subcontinent particularly Bangladesh.
“Governments think in short term time frames and are not well qualified as leaders,” he said. “We are not ready for any of this, but as overloaded as your desks are now and as stretched are your budgets, as Local Government Leaders you haven’t seen anything yet.” He left delegates with the following thoughts.
“The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step.”
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