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Now we are bargaining with the climate gods

By Lyn Bender - posted Tuesday, 16 July 2013

He contributed with IPCC colleagues to that organization's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore and he got arrested at White Rock British Columbia,Canada, while blockading a coal train. Professor Mark Jaccard is no vapid apologist when it comes to climate change. A veteran government energy policy advisor, his current advice regarding fossil fuels is: leave them in the ground! He has recently been invited by the Parliament of European Union to Provide Expert Insights in European Fuel Quality Directive Policy Debate. He contends that the Alberta Tar Sands are so CO2 intensive that to dig them up and burn them would be climate sabotage. As far as saving the planet , it would be game over. Mark is a toweringly inspiring voice in the world of climate change action. He is however only human as they say.

So even Mark Jaccard, whose dedication knowledge and hard headedness is itself undeniable, holds out hope, albeit a small hope, for that oxymoron; clean coal. If we could burn coal yet capture the CO2 , well then ,we could burn coal. If only.

Many environmentalists such as Jessy Tolkan in the United States of Energy Action Coalition, consider that clean coal is pure fiction It would be nice but we don't have the time to waste wishing and hoping or to continue to build coal plants. It has been touted for years and its just not happening .


Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was a proud exponent of geo sequestration as a climate solution, but like the emperors clothes, there was nothing there, [yet] The Carbon catcher machine that took his fancy as 'the mobile carbon catcher' was largely discredited by scientists.It required too much energy to capture the CO2.

Al Gore considers clean coal to be 'like healthy cigarettes' It may exist at a theoretical level but not at a real level. If sequestering CO2 is a possibility, it is far from reality. It falls into the "if only" category.

The working title of Mark Jaccard's latest book is 'Deluding ourselves to Disaster ' It is aptly named. That is what we are all doing in various ways, myself included as I continue to hope for world peace and zero emissions, while going on with life as though we were not in an emergency. What explains this paradox.?

Psychiatrist, and thanatologist, [one who studies the science of death] Elizabeth Kubler -Ross listened as most of her colleagues before her had failed to do, to the words of the dying. She identified five stages in coping for individuals, confronting their own mammoth personal disaster of, terminal illness. These were; denial ,anger, bargaining, despair and acceptance. These stages were not seen by Kubler-Ross as linear or universal. When denial becomes untenable, but facing the horror is unbearable, bargaining permits us to wrestle with the gods. Our fate is therefore not sealed . We could beat the odds. We may defy fate. Bargaining may hold the dreaded monster of despair at bay. It works for us because daily we operate on a split screen concerning death and loss. Any moment we could ourselves suffer death, or the deaths of loved ones. But we continue on, seemingly oblivious to this, as though time were never ending, and death can never find us.

Has there ever been anything so devastating ,in the history of mankind as the encroaching destruction of the habitability of our only home? Past generations may have feared many possible apocalypses, but the destruction of our climate by the heating of the planet at our own hands,is almost impossible to psychically encompass. So we avoid we distract and if we know the truth we may bargain. God will not let his creation die, if I put my faith in him. Technology will find an answer, so we must invest in geo engineering. Science can be often be wrong., lets wait and see. Lots of science gets disproved every day. If we all do our bit and act locally it will make a big difference.

It's impossible that the earth will change so much. It won't happen in my lifetime, I hope. We need a strong economy to adapt to climate change so we need to keep burning coal.


Bargaining in this situation, is the act of trying to do a deal when the odds are stacked against you. But the climate is saying no deal, its coal or the planet. Your money [for coal] or your life.

James Baldwin black activist and novelist who died in 1987,famously declared

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

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About the Author

Lyn Bender is a psychologist in private practice. She is a former manager of Lifeline Melbourne and is working on her first novel.

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