Philip Duncan: Girl Guides have the right idea: Be ready

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Farmers ignore climate change at their livelihoods' peril. Photo / APN
Farmers ignore climate change at their livelihoods' peril. Photo / APN

Climate change - it's time to stop fighting the mounting science and to start seeing how we can gain economically from it by being better prepared.

For over a decade I've been on the fence about climate change, because in my view both sides espoused alarmist theories. But lately (and not because of Superstorm Sandy) I've been wondering why, with 90 per cent of actively publishing North American climate scientists and most governments worldwide now embracing the science behind climate change, minority dissenters are getting an equal voice?

Evidence is mounting that global warming really is happening - not just from much of the scientific community, but also from business, like insurance companies. International insurance companies are noticing the rapid rise in payouts - some put this down to more people with more money who buy in vulnerable places.

However, the number of "one in 100 year" storms is happening, well, more than once every 100 years.

We no longer believe the sun revolves around Earth. We no longer believe the Earth is flat. Dinosaurs did exist. But, as US liberal comedian Bill Maher said on HBO this week: "How can we convince people who believe the Earth is 9000 years old that climate change is real?"

Climate change is a hot topic - excuse the pun. Every single time an article about it appears online the first comments often are negative. They attack the writer or the science itself. Or link to debunked papers or those that are not peer reviewed.

I work closely with the farming community and I know there is a lot of scepticism. However, those who ignore it may do so at a financial cost to their livelihoods. Accepting climate change is real doesn't make you a left wing nutter who wants to tax more; indeed, taxing more is the worst thing we can do.

It's time we planned better. Governments and councils need action plans that cover more worst-case scenarios. Power companies need to be ready for more storms and outages. Businesses and farmers need to think of the consequences of more extreme weather.

Current taxes and rates can be used smarter. Paying more money won't stop climate change and will only give more power to politicians and line someone else's pocket.

Common sense is all I ask for. It's time we realised the world is round and heating up - and that means more severe weather. What we need is to be better prepared.

- Herald on Sunday

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