It’s nice to post a good news story for a change! According to a group of scientists from Australia’s Antarctic Division, the ozone hole over Antarctica is now shrinking. This must surely to be a direct result of the Montreal Protocol to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which caused the ozone hole in the first place. I think this clearly demonstrates two things: human activity can indeed have serious effects on the global climate, and human co-operation and positive action can solve those problems. Imagine if George W. Bush were the President at the time. Would the Montreal Protocol have been agreed to? I’ll bet it wouldn’t have—he would have said there was no proof that CFCs damaged the ozone layer, and that the Protocol would have a negative effect on business, jobs and the economy.
Which brings me to the next part of my good news story. At the recent G20 summit, the leaders of the top 20 economies in the world agreed to a very simple measure that I feel will have far reaching consequences—to end fossil fuel subsidies. I’ve always felt it was both extraordinary and ridiculous that—when we really need to encourage the development of alternative energy—the governments of the world are still subsidising fossil fuel production. I am also proud to say that Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spearheaded these changes, even though our economy is currently very highly dependant on fossil fuel exports (particularly coal and gas). It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, both Australia’s Prime Minister and the American President denied climate change, and refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Once again, if they were still in government, it is hard to imagine that the lifting of fossil fuel subsidies would ever have been agreed to (for the reasons cited above).
Of course, that isn’t the only good news to some out of the G20 summit: it is also good to see such widespread co-operation in dealing with the economic crisis (which already appears to have averted another great depression), and that they are taking affirmative action to try and prevent corporate greed from creating such a situation again (such as the measures to control executive salaries).