John Howard reckons: “…to say climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst.” He goes on to say: “It feeds ideological demands for knee-jerk policy reactions that would destroy jobs and the living standards of ordinary Australians.”
Then comes the deceit: “The moral challenge of our time is not vastly different from the challenge earlier generations faced. It's to build a prosperous, secure and fair Australia - a confident nation at ease with the world and with itself.”
Only Howard could come out with Aussie-centric garbage like ‘to say climate change is the overwhelming moral challenge for this generation of Australians is misguided at best; misleading at worst’. The reality is that the challenge is for the entire world to face – regardless of how small our farts are relative to the rest of the world’s farts.
Some, like William Kininmonth, are arguing that climate change is a natural phenomenon over which man has no control. Others, and it has to be said, far better qualified scientists, like Australian of the Year recipient, Tim Flannery, argue that climate change is man-induced and furthermore, can be controlled if we put or minds to it. It is only recently that Howard has started to take any interest at all in the problem of climate change and it is the convergence of two factors that have been directly responsible for that interest; first, the current drought crisis and, second, the fact that it has happened in an election year. What Howard neglects is the fact that this problem has been staring Australia in the face for a very long time and Australians have known that such a crisis was going to come sooner or later many years ago. And he’s only listening now because he knows that Australians know there is a problem – not because he believes himself that there is a problem, at least not one that can’t be solved by a bit of praying and a lot of deceitful waffle and outright lies.
Howard reckons that it’s not in Australia’s interest to come to the party on the green house gas problem. What he means, of course, is that it’s not in the interests of his Australian Big Business mates. Whenever Howard mentions words like ‘Australia’s interests’ you just know that it’s a euphemism for ‘Australian Big Business’ who couldn’t care less about climate change and the effects that it’s going to have on tomorrow’s world.
But it doesn’t just end there. What Howard also refuses to look at is the bigger picture that climate change involves. Howard seems to think that the problem can be solved just by the expedient trading of carbon emissions. His ears prick up when he hears the word ‘trading’. ‘Trading’ means the exchange of big bucks so, if the terms of trading are in your favour, go for it. But if they’re not – well… And therein lies his dilemma. On the one hand Australians are now demanding the problem be confronted and on the other his Big Business mates are shaking their heads saying ‘no’ and telling him that it will cost ‘Australians jobs’, which is really just another euphemism which means ‘its either cut jobs or cut fat profits’ and we know that they’re not going to cut profits.
Making huge profits from manufacturing consumer goods means consuming massive amounts of energy in order to make those goods. Providing the fuel for that energy is in itself massively profitable. Each feeds off the other in a seemingly never-ending cycle of manufacture-profit-consume-profit-manufacture without – until now – worrying about how the cycle is fuelled and where its waste ends up. And that’s not all; now we are going to have to start worrying about what happens when the fuel that we all thought was most abundant finally does start to dry up. Is the world going to start fighting over what’s left? It looks like they’ve already started – gas-pipes and vast oil reserves not withstanding in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s time Australians put to good use its well known innovative skills in developing alternative energy resources using the free, safe and abundant nuclear energy of the sun to power our country and to show how the rest of the world can do the same.
Even if some think climate change is inevitable there is no excuse for sitting back and letting a finite fuel run dry without working out ways of using the most natural fuel the universe has to offer in order to alleviate the problem of energy supply for the future generations and, at the same time, solve part of the problem that most scientists think is the one that confronts us right now – climate change.
Solar is the way to go. You don’t have to dig it up and you don’t have to bury it when you’ve finished using it. And more of it lands on Australia’s land in a second than man can dig up in ten years. All we got to do is figure out a way of using it.
Contrary to what Howard says, climate change and all that that involves is indeed the overwhelming challenge, and not just for this generation of Australians but for all the peoples of the world and all the generations to come. What Australia can do is lead the way in meeting that challenge.