At last Australia has passed a Clean Energy Act to begin addressing the mammoth threat posed by climate change. I visited the PM Julia Gillard earlier this year with an interfaith delegation from Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. She assured us that this Act was merely the first step, a beginning of the process of addressing what she recognized as a tremendous problem. The year previous I also spoke with Tony Abbott as a member of ARRCC, and he was very clear that he regarded climate change as unsupported by science, and that a sea level rise of 1 meter would be manageable for Australia. Little wonder he has vowed a ‘blood oath’ to repeal the legislation.
History is Made in Australia November 7, 2011 : 9:00 PM
This is a historic moment. Australia’s Parliament has put the nation’s first carbon price into law. With this vote, the world has turned a pivotal corner in the collective effort to solve the climate crisis. This success is the result of the tireless work of an unprecedented coalition that came together to support the legislation, the leadership of Prime Minister Gillard, and the courage of legislators to take a vote that helps to safeguard the future of all Australians.
I have spent enough time in Australia to know that their spirit of independence as a people cannot be underestimated. As the world’s leading coal exporter, there’s no doubt that opposition to this legislation was fierce. But through determination and commitment, the voice of the people of Australia has rung out loud and clear.
Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we do everything we can to ensure that this legislation is successful.
Just in case you thought we could get, you know, happy, the global picture on climate change looks worse than ever. Despite the financial crisis, levels of CO2 continue to rise. The International Energy Agency warns that the current rate of production of carbon-expensive infrastructure means that we are becoming locked into a pattern of increasing carbon levels and the inevitable global warming that that entails. From today’s Guardian:
“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”
Astonishingly, the IAE claims that the fossil fuels industry is being subsidised to the tune of $400 billion/year! With such figures demonstrating the shallowness of true commitment to change, it is difficult to remain optimistic. Just remember: kamma is kamma! Do the best you can, that’s all you can do.