While many of the countries who signed on to the Paris Accord on limiting global warming have already ratified the Agreement which is the first step to actually reducing their own emissions our Lucky Country has not. It will be interesting to see what if anything is done.
Direct Action, as we know from the utterances of Malcolm, "is a fig leaf" behind which Australia emerges as the worst polluter, per capita, of all countries while continuing in the pretence that action is urgently being implemented.
The per capita figures assumes that we have to account for the coal we dig up, transport and send overseas to be burnt in electricity production in China and India both of whom have signalled a slowing down of demand as they move to renewables.
I have noted most of this before and apologise for restating what to many will be obvious.
Increasingly action is happening at the household level People are growing their own food in communal gardens, verandas and yards as well as common land such as schools, parks and city squares. It may not make much of a dent in the massive problem that we are facing but it does make for a more committed citizenry. The film Demain shows much of the citizen actions throughout the EU, India, China, the US and Africa. Highly recommended.
What is to come is the breaking down of industrial farming and mono-cultivation that is adding to our loss of top soil at an alarming rate. Organic farming that is done in combination with companion planting and crop rotation will begin to revive the land that we have been taking for granted as if it was a limitless resource.
Looking further ahead if we are competing with farm animals for our very lives we may have to consider modifying or changing our diets. Vegetarian and vegan diets are not only planet friendly they are so because of the massive carbon foot print in the business as usual food chain. So eat food locally grown, in season and organic.
I listened to a BBC podcast today about coffee. Very good but, toward the end of the program they pointed out that with climate change new pests and diseases are beginning to infect coffee plantations around the world. Most of the best coffee beans derive from two single seed exports from Ethiopia. The first was to Yemen and beyond there to Western Europe. What has appeared in the last two or three years are diseases such as leaf rust which attacks the coffee trees and destroys their leaves which in turn destroys their nutrition uptake ability, Enjoy that coffee while you can. Of course there is always the choice to drink Robusta beans which as the name implies is a hardier plant that doesn't require the sort of environments that Arabica does, is bitter and forms the basis for Starbucks product which no self respecting coffee drinker would touch.
It is very clear that our political classes are not listening or are constrained from taking meaningful action by vested interests. What to do if you have Barnaby Joyce as the Deputy PM, leader of your Coalition (or Coal-ition) partner or the hugely gross (in all senses of the word) figure of George Christiansen on your flank?
Malcolm came to be PM by ousting the awful Tony Abbott on a promise to be more collegiate within his party and to take the time to explain to the Australian people in an intelligent dialogue what needs to be done. He was talking about the economy then but has since done about face on so many things that were important to him in the past – we can only hope and trust and work for him being sent back to the opposition benches as soon as possible. What could be more important to the economy and indeed to life itself than seriously tackling climate change. To start with crippling the CSIRO does not send the right signal.
In the rush to a globalised economy the thought of tariffs and trade barriers doesn't seem feasible but in an ever changing world the very same global bodies who seek to break down barriers may in an environment where the very real threats to our lives caused by a changing climate will sanction the big national polluters with trade barriers that will further isolate the country that has seen itself as the food bowl for a hungry world.
Apart from the citizen proactive things we can and increasingly are doing we need to organise so that our MPs realise that we are not just there for a few months before an election and then apathetic until the next one but that we are also very much involved and have too much at stake to risk that our Parliaments will do the right thing without being pushed very hard by we, the people.
One action that should be considered is a High Court challenge to the government for failing the nation on this vital question as well as looking at the possibility of criminal charges against the blockers who maintain that the opinion that global warming is not man made or worse that it is a socialist plot. Well might we scoff at them but scoffing will not save our planet our our futures.
In the past week we have seen tornadoes rip through South Australia which turned their electric supply towers into bits of broken Lego and disrupting a great deal of the state's electricity. Our Prime Miniature was quick to blame renewables which he must have known were not the cause. If the power was coming from sun, wind or indeed brown coal it made no difference if the towers and lines used to deliver it were strewn across the State. As one pundit pointed out when the tornado Yasi hit Queensland not one tower came down in stronger winds. They went on to wonder that perhaps the now visible concrete supports were too flimsy and if they had been built since the power business was privatised.
I heard class dunce Barnaby ranting today about the South Australian disaster. “OK,” he said “the problem was caused by bad weather but why did it take so long to get the current flowing again?” the old technique of if you are caught out lying once then move the lie upstream. Barnaby might be an obvious figure of fun but look at the damage he can do and does. The tornadoes blow themselves out as they move on but BJ goes on and on.
I am pleased to say that Victoria's premier, Daniel Andrews, was quick to describe Malcolm's utterances as “arrant nonsense”. It will be of great interest if there are economic reprisals from Canberra as there was with the Abbott government over roads and infrastructure funding. Sadly the effects are being felt in the investment community where investors are starting to get nervous about the lack of government commitment to renewables. Turnbull's comments were a discussion warmer for the upcoming fed-states pow wow on energy. Love your work Malcolm.
All this begs the question what is the role of government? To me there are natural monopolies that benefit from government ownership and oversight. Telephony is one of these. If the Government hadn't privatised Telstra the NBN rollout would be finished long ago. If the power companies hadn't been sold off we would have 100% renewables as well as a smart grid and jobs for the retrained coal mining workforce. Water, roads, airports and harbours all have the need of strong oversight even if the operations are leased to private corporations.