Posted June 14, 2018 09:16:30As the industry’s top environmental expert, Dr David King is no stranger to environmental and climate change concerns.
But the world’s largest chemical industry has come out against the UN’s proposed Clean Energy Goals, saying the goal to achieve zero emissions from all sources by 2050 is a “very, very bad” idea.
Key points:Dr King says the goal is “very problematic” and is “totally wrong”The chemical industry is concerned that it could be used as a weapon to prevent it from meeting its own targetsIf you are a campaigner for clean energy, Dr King says it’s time to stop worrying about the environmentDr King is a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Queensland and a former consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services.
He’s also the former chief executive of the Australian Medical Association.
Dr King spoke with ABC News on the phone from his home in Queensland, where he is due to give a keynote address at the Australian Chemical Industry Association conference in Brisbane on Tuesday.
He says the UN climate goals are an “achievement of the sort that governments are expected to achieve”.
“They are a failure to do what governments have set out to do,” he said.
“It’s a bad outcome for the environment and it’s a very, very, bad outcome.”
The fact that it is an agreement between nations, that’s very significant.
“If you’re a chemical industry and you’re not going to get it, then that’s not a success for you.”
The chemical sector has been pushing to get the target to be met, with some industry stakeholders calling it an “ill-advised” move that would harm the economy.
Dr David King, a former chief of the chemical company Chemical & Technology, speaks to ABC News (ABC News)Key pointsThe goal was originally drawn up by the World Health Organisation in 2009 and set out an ambitious global goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“We’re trying to reach our goals and we need to do it together,” Dr King said.
“That’s not about us, it’s about the global community.”
The UN’s climate goals were initially drawn up in 2009 by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In a report in 2012, the IPCC warned the goal was “highly problematic” because it could “be used as an instrument to prevent” countries from meeting their own climate targets.
Dr Martin Stoddart, chief executive officer of the International Council for Clean Energy (ICCE), the body that has backed the goal, says the industry supports it because it gives it a clear “path” for countries to meet their emissions targets.
“I think the objective itself is really a very good one and I think it would be very helpful to have an international agreement that would allow countries to achieve it,” he told ABC News.
“For the industry, it is a great thing, it will help to stimulate investment and jobs and we’ll see where it goes.”
But I think there’s also a strong case for a number of reasons why the agreement should be opposed by industry.
“Dr King said the industry had a history of supporting other targets, including the UN Kyoto Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.”
You have to remember that the Kyoto protocol was a deal between governments, the governments of the United States and Japan, and they had a very different approach to what was going on at the time,” he added.”
In the end, they failed to meet the Kyoto goals.
“He said the aim of the goals was to give the world a way forward that “doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach”.”
It doesn’t have the complexity of the Kyoto program,” Dr Stoddard said.”[It] does have a way in which countries are going to meet these targets.
“The ICCE, which supports the aim, said in a statement the aim was “an achievement of the kind that governments were expected to reach”.”
The goal is a very positive one and is an example of the sorts of things that governments should be able to achieve together,” ICCE said.
But Professor King said while the goal had some positive features, he said the goal should not be confused with the Clean Energy Targets.”
These targets are a very bad and wrong outcome for business,” he explained.”
They have been taken in such a way that they actually lead to a worse outcome.
So it’s not what we should have expected.
“What we have is a bad goal, but what it’s really doing is saying that business is going to fail because they don’t have a strategy.”
That’s just not true.”‘
This is not the end of the world’The industry’s chief scientist, Peter Watson, said the plan could lead to more pollution, and more people dying