i am an Australian Citizen and have lived in my country of choice (not of Birth) for 40 years. After some 11 years of government by a (haha) ‘Liberal’ government (it is somewhat ironic that the most right-wing conservative government for my entire time of living in this country went under the name of ‘Liberal’ for it’s political party) a new government under the Labor Party (a more central-left form of governance/ideology) was elected in Nov 2007, partly on the party’s stance on working conditions and also on Climate Change, which the former government largely did nothing to address, but chose to suck up to American political resistance on the issue.
The reason for my disgust?
It is that in the ensuing 2 years since coming into power my government is showing all the signs of doing a 180 degree turn-around to the position many felt it was standing for when they voted them into Government.
Most voters who elected the Labor Government would have felt their wishes were being heard when shortly after coming into office Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, announced to appreciative world leaders that Australia was finally becoming a co-signatory to the UN’s IPCC Kyoto Protocol after more than a decade of refusing to officially be a party to international efforts to reduce carbon emissions and addressing world climate change in a united way.
They felt remarkably less like serious action was going to be taken by their government when it announced it’s target goals for greenhouse gas emission reduction.
‘AUSTRALIA will set an “unconditional” 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of just 5 per cent if the world fails to act on climate change.The Rudd Government has committed to a reduction of between 5 and 15 per cent in carbon emissions by 2020.
But the Rudd Government has flagged deeper cuts of up to 15 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020 if international agreement can be reached to aggressively cut emissions around the world.’
“This announcement today is inconsistent with the overall actions of the Rudd government to date on climate change in the Pacific region.”
“20-25% emissions reduction by 2020 based on 1990s level was the absolute minimum. Australia has just outdone the minimum!.” (Mr. Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches).
This does not bode well for the original aspirational, and some would say minimum essential, changes needed to minimise the disastrous world-wide results of increasing greenhouse gas emissions that Mr Rudd was talking up in the lead up to his election:
‘The stated goal of the Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, is to reduce emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. Mr (John) Howard, (then Prime Minister) said this would be financially devastating and was nothing more than a grab for Greens preferences and “cheap applause” at this weekend’s ALP national conference.’ (SMH – Phillip Coorey and Cosima Marriner April 24, 2007)
Nor does it seem to be taking any account of the advice the government sought and paid for in order to determine it’s policies when in government:
‘The architect of the Federal Government’s climate change policy says Australia should make early, deep cuts in greenhouse pollution and press other nations to follow suit.
Economist Ross Garnaut, who today releases the interim report of the Government’s climate change review, also backed the adoption of interim emissions targets.
Professor Garnaut told a solar power function in Adelaide that the Government may need to go further than its target of cutting emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
“Australia would need to be prepared to go considerably further in reduction of emissions as part of an effective global agreement with full participation by major developing countries, designed to reduce risks of dangerous climate change to acceptable levels,” Prof Garnaut said.’ (http://www.1degree.com.au/node/625)
“This is not the time for delay”
Australian government’s White Paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, Dec 2008.
With less than 2 months to go before the Copenhagen meeting at which the next world united agreement on Carbon Emissions is supposed to be discussed and agreed to by all participating nations, and Mr Rudd’s government not looking likely to be able to declare any kind of agreed legislation or unamended carbon reduction policy before that date, and so leaving Autralia with no clearly defined internal position on the increasingly hotly disputed topic, that comment is looking increasingly like yet another bit of governmental fluff designed to give the public the idea they are doing something while doing nothing productive what-so-ever.
Admittedly, this is due in large part to the tactics of the federal Opposition who, along with Greens and Independent MP’s, have voted down the government’s first attempt to pass the rather weak legislative framework that has acquired the ire of the powerful coal mining lobbyists, as well as related power supply followers, who all fear losing money as we convert to better forms of generating the power our society increasingly demands and devours.
The mindless bleating of “Australia will lose (coal-mining) jobs” by those opposed to the Labor government policy is a political furphy, a distraction from truth. Those who spout it to the media completely miss the point that those jobs are causing the world to become ever more and faster polluted, and that we need to move the people in those jobs to new technology and industries that provide better forms of energy generation and corporate profit ASAP.
Industries that have been proven capable of replacing the vast majority of coal burning industry that was popular in the 1850’s, at virtually no pollution cost and without the massive expenditure and long-term pollution of the planet that the Nuclear Technology industry has consumed and produced since the 1940’s.
Do not be fooled Australia, jobs will not be ‘lost’ but should be transferred and improved as we move into the twenty-first century and out of the 19th century Victorian times of the same old Coal.
Ask yourself how many people die mining coal every year compared to how many die from harvesting sun, wind and wave?
Ask yourself how much a tonne of coal costs to burn compared to how much wind and sunlight costs once the power station is built?
And finally ask yourself how much longer are you prepared to pollute the sky and air we have to breathe (and which governs our environment in so many important ways) by burning fossil fuels like carbon coal and petroleum gas when cleaner alternatives are capable of replacing all of the current sources of power and will be far cheaper overall once the investment is made – once we commit ourselves to living in a better world for all of it’s citizens?
It’s time we started exporting renewable energy technology and resources to utilise it to the world and not our coal and gas.
Then maybe i won’t need to feel disgusted at those who are so desperate for my vote once every three years.