I’m reading the Australian government’s CPRS white paper tonight and there are some issues that I don’t understand.
In the Foreword, the paper says:
“… we have more to lose than any other developed nation if the world fails to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
Wow, we better take it seriously then.
A couple of pages down, it goes on to say:
“By 2020, we have committed to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by up to 15 per cent below 2000 levels in the context of a global agreement where major economies agree to substantially restrain carbon pollution and advanced economies take on reductions comparable to Australia.”
“Where major economies agree?” And what if they DON’T agree? We will do nothing? I thought this was serious?!
In debates on Twitter, people have tried to explain to me that it’s about balancing our long-term priorities (eg staying alive) with our short-term priorities (eg keeping people in jobs that are threatening our ability to stay alive).
I don’t see why we should be protecting the jobs of people when those jobs are threatening our ability to LIVE. That’s like protecting the jobs of the terrorists because, well, they have families too.
Mining in Australia employs about 129,000 people. That’s about 1.3% of the work force. If we shut down mining and pensioned them all off with $100k a year, that’s about $10 billion a year, which, coincidentally, is about the same about of money the government has set aside for financial assistance to businesses and households anyway. So it’s not inconceivable to just shut it all down today.
Anyway, that’s not my point. My point is that you can’t justify continuing to do something that’s just WRONG by saying “yes but it makes money”. For example, slavery is profitable. But we don’t do that anymore (officially, anyway). We also don’t invade poor countries and kill all of their indigenous population and steal their assets (officially, anyway). Why not? Because it’s WRONG. And it’s NOT justified by saying “but we need to stay competitive”. It’s not dissimilar to countries developing nuclear weapons with the rationale that “they have them so we have to have them too”. I call BULLSHIT on that argument.
I would much rather see the leaders of our country stand up for doing what is RIGHT regardless of whether nor not other countries are willing to take that step. We should be LEADERS, not bureaucrats.
As for the mining companies – I don’t feel the need to protect their asses, either. They’ve had plenty of warning that what they were doing was unsustainable. And how much of their BILLIONS of profits did they spend on coming up with alternatives over the last 20 years? Pretty much ZERO. Did their investors force them at their AGMs to change their practices? No, they didn’t. So screw the mining companies AND their investors. Why should we protect the interests of companies that have been deliberately destroying the planet in the name of profit for decades?
Hell, even Bob Hawke understands.