Tim Flannery’s The Climate Cure – a brief review

Flannery is by far and away the best populariser of climate science in Australia. This volume follows on from best sellers The Weather Makers and Atmosphere of Hope in clearly and concisely outlining the climate related problems we face, the political ‘cul de sac’ we find ourselves in,  and offers a range of solutions.

The first part of The Climate Cure (Text 2020)* is called ‘The Great Australian Tragedy’ and speaks for itself. It is the story of the failure of our Federal governments (heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industry) to act on global warming for more than two decades. Most of it is not new. Chapter headings like ‘A history of Folly’, ‘Megafires’ and ‘The Decade of Consequences’ elaborate on this theme.

Here Flannery states “Despite the growing desire of Australians for strong action on climate change, the Federal Government remains hostage to about twenty-five members of parliament… and in holding the government hostage, they are continuing to hold twenty-five million Australians to ransom. But we must act, even as our leaders fail to act.” (p.31) The magic number of 25 is now reduced with, for instance, the replacement of climate denier-in-chief Tony Abbott by Independent Zali Steggall, but the rump of the Nationals, and a few die-hard liberals, remains.

The second part of the book entitled ‘The Three Part Cure’ looks at both the political and practical solutions required. On the political aspects Flannery noted that the “most potent of all actions has been taken by traditionally conservative voters who are sick of being held to ransom by the climate deniers in parliament. Independents like Zali Steggall have run for a seat in Federal Parliament and won (with an astonishing 58% of the vote). More Independents supportive of climate action would do a lot to shift our politics in the right direction…[but electing them]…will not be easy.” (p.85)

The rest of the ‘Cure’ includes the need for a ‘just transition’ out of coal, looks at the obvious solutions of ‘hydrogen’ and ‘electric vehicles’ and how to attack the harder problems of shipping and aviation. There is also a short chapter on ‘Adaption’ and Flannery briefly touches on the problems of ‘geoengineering’ and ‘carbon drawdown’.

This book is an excellent summary of our current climate predicament. Please buy a copy and pass on to a friend when you have read it, or send it to your local MP.

*There are a small number of errors in the book. For example, the Menzies government went for 16 years not 26 (p.22). One that ‘got up my nose’ was calling Clive Palmer an ‘Independent’ (p.41). There is a copy in the East Gippsland Shire Library.