The Topsy-Turvy Land Downunder
11 November 2013
You may have heard that things have gone a little awry in the climate downunder.
Not only has Sydney just had the worst bushfires ever in October (mid-spring!), this year saw national temperature records broken month after month after month. After the hottest day ever across Australia in January, the Bureau of Metereology had to include a new colour for much hotter levels of hot. And perhaps this is no surprise — now the heat seems to have gone into the heads of the politicians.
Despite the fact that the majority of Australians want action on climate change (as made clear by extensive exit polling at the recent election), the new government sacked the independent Climate Change Authority (which provided independent scientific advice on climate policy), and is in the process of repealing Australia's carbon price and limit on pollution as well as its legislated commitment to 80% reductions by 2050.
Say again? With more than 40 countries, states and provinces around the globe implementing a carbon price, the new government is falling backwards, scrapping Australia’s pricing scheme and moving to an inefficient government funded scheme that – wait for this! — pays polluters to pollute.
But unfortunately, there’s even more. What about Australia’s ability to meet the middle or upper end of their 5% to 25% 2020 target range? Seems to be gone in a flash. Other countries should sound alarm bells and question Australia’s intentions to contribute its fair share to cut global pollution and limit warming.
The new Australian government is hardly inclined to take climate change seriously — but they must.