Saturday, 25 April 2009

Ecological leadership needs to be forced on Australia - and hasn't

Adam Morton's post in WA Today pointing Britain's commitment to deep emissions cuts is really revealing for the point it makes not only about Australia, but about the way the self-centred populations of Europe fail to realise that by concentrating on reducing their own emissions, they can claim to be environmentally sensitive when they are not.

The facts are:

1) the free market encourages high efficiency in Europe and low efficiency in Australia

2) high efficiency comes at a human cost that is clearly unaffordable demographically

3) that low efficiency is ecologically unaffordable in Australia but not dangerous in Europe simply because its soils and oceans are a renewable resource

4) that any really serious attack on greenhouse would focus almost exclusively on changing Australia from the country with the highest per-capita emissions to the one with (by an order of magnitude or more) the lowest

5) that reductions in Australian emissions would have much more effect upon living standards in Europe than reductions in European emissions

6) that European people are far more unwilling to accept reductions in living standards or quality of life from not having access to Australian goods than Australians are from the decline in environmental quality brought about by runaway rainfall declines and hotter temperatures

7) that sustainability in Australia would mean rigid laws eliminating cheap baseload electricity and all private cars but would encourage immensely more innovation in even a smaller private sector

8) that governments in other OECD nations and international conservation bodies should have tried to gang up on Australia during the Howard era to encourage something approaching sustainability - or if that was impractical, to try and encourage policies that would have made the rest of the world less dependent on Australian minerals and especially food

It is so annoying to see the claims one does by people like Penny Wong. If Australia was a real leader our museums would have a scene (or picture thereof) like that at Denmac Ford during the 1980s, only saying "LAST NEW CAR" instead of "LAST FALCON V8". In addition, unnecessary street lighting would be completely eliminated (I know too well that bike lights are sufficient) and houses and/or clothing would be much better designed so people could live without baseload power. That is what Australia would be like if it really wanted something approaching sustainability, whilst the rest of the world would get its food from less labour-efficient but more ecologically suitable places whatever they might be.

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