After a record year in 2019 of drought, record temperatures, and record bush-fire damages, noted in the annual BOM climate report, Australian government climate policy is still operates much like it did in the year 1970. Perhaps their minds are still back in the 1950's , in the case of current slim majority rule of the Liberal - National Party coalition (LNP). Australia is still into expanding coal and gas exports like it is all the rage. Money still trumps science and buys governments.
Here is a little bit of corporate climate science history. GM in the USA knew their motor vehicle emissions would cause global heating 50 years ago. They sponsored some climate scientists to do research in 1960's. Then they ignored and buried the results. Their business was making lots of money from the manufacture and promotion of polluting gas-guzzlers. That for them, was more certain than future climate consequences. This has required more than just a little quiet "cover-up" of the facts.
The facts are that huge amounts of air pollution are a cumulative bad for individuals and global health. Exxon-Mobil also "knew", factored climate risks into their fossil fuel development calculations, and then chose to deny them, to allow the world to consume their oil products as fast as possible. Global transport and urban design, all of our energy-machine systems, the build-up of growth of all our cities and civilization, over the last 5 decades, became tied to exponential growth of fossil fuel burning. Our global mega-machine became climate-toxic.
Our Australian political parties, which are still in the thrall of large donations from foreign mining corporations, still indulge after their many decades of climate change cover-up and lies. They still play the same self-serving games.They probably knew about climate change 50 years ago as well as any corporate CEO. But money opportunity in the short-term always trumps scientific concern for accumulated harm.
"Don't you worry about that" was coined by an australian state politician. Coal politics are still much the same in Queensland. A general rule is "free-trade" and "free markets" are good, regulation bad. "Coal jobs good". Kicking indigenous peoples off mining land and blowing up ancient sites is perfect for shareholders. Mining CEO's get even fatter salaries and payouts. Freedom is is still a code word for making money from exploitation. No worries mates, the media will cover it up for you, and provide necessary lies and distractions.
Economic growth appears to operate on the principle of "All as means", (John McMurtry) which includes the purchase of political convenience. Sovereign risk is understood as a money-depriving offense to foreign investors. Consequently these have more power over Australian policy and political thinking than voters. Making money is confused with national interest and health. Never let science get in the way of making money. Never come between a State Premier and a bucket of money. Stop and screw science research if you don't like the answers. This is the Trump principle for the USA, our good fossil fuel mates in the arts of global heating.
But in the following decades, both manufacturers largely failed to act on the knowledge that their products were heating the planet. Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.
Progress that has been made, is in the adoption of renewable solar
and wind energy in Australia, as in the USA, which are now the cheaper by far options. Private households, local councils and state governments lead the way. The foreign mining industry hasn't been able to stop this. This hasn't stopped a backwards looking power
grid management and fossilized government from hanging on to their old
coal power generators, using regulations and slow upgrades to penalize renewable energy competition. The rate of global heating acceleration, and renewable energy adoption, has long since overtaken the zero rate of fossil political party change in Australia.
Our next generations already suffer the costs. Future human generations are forced to contend with shrinking limits of their fast disappearing life support basis. Corporation entities and governments are fully embedded in the capitalist system of making profits, and forget about "externalities". Johnathon Cook in this counterpunch article references just how hard the Corporate plus Government rule is trying to make us all forget.
Unlike a few years ago, many of us now understand that our futures are at grave risk from changes in our environment – the effect. But the task of today’s perception managers, like those of yesteryear, is to obscure the main cause – our economic system, capitalism.
Many national governments are going far in targets to replace their fossil fuel energy systems with renewable energy. It is also the fact that fossil fuel exploitation options and cheap supplies are running down. Renewable energy makes economic sense. The more general problem of massive "externalization" of all the other growing costs of industrial civilization still lack effective remedies.
Ongoing ecosystems collapse somehow come across as being the problems of other peoples and species problems. It is usually portrayed as an unfortunate "side-effect" of our industrial systems growth which happens elsewhere. We in Australian can easily ignore the severe raising sea-level problems for pacific islanders, or people living on the lowlands of Bangladesh. This only encourages our climate-criminal negligence. Ecosystems collapse is a global process. Global heating is just one of the symptoms. Combined systems collapse is likely to take human species along with it. Australia is a democracy. But its representatives ignore every money-externality as a "somebody else's problem". Inaction is guaranteed when corporate-political system controls your party, claims that it feeds your nation, and says don't you dare interfere with our profits.
External side-effects are the hidden larger part of capitalism, without which accumulations of profits gets difficult. The guardians of capitalism and property, the police, armed forces, government, laws and justice systems, and media, are jigged-up to suppress all protest against the "side-effects" of "externality", such as "global mass extinctions".
So even minor reforms to the money systems, are seen as gross threats to the status quo and capitalism. Effective protests and opposition are met with denial, violence, penalties, incarceration and use of media as a weapon.
The establishment is not preparing to give up on capitalism – the ideology that enriched and empowered it – without a fight. The political and media class proved that with their relentless and unprecedented attacks on Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn over several years. And Corbyn was offering only a reformist, democratic socialist agenda.
In the UK, Extinction Rebellion somehow got on the police list of terrorists groups along with neo-nazi's and pro-islamists. Under related UK “Prevent” regulations, teachers and government officials are already required by law to report anyone who they suspect of being “radicalised”. Anyone for "School strikes for climate"? https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/10/xr-extinction-rebellion-listed-extremist-ideology-police-prevent-scheme-guidance
The establishment has also demonstrated its determination to cling on to the status quo in its relentless and unprecedented attacks onWikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is locked away, seemingly indefinitely, for revealing the externalities – the victims – of the west’s war industries and the psychopathic behaviour of those in power.
My Australian government is clearly content, relaxed and comfortable to have all of this, under global brands of legal and media control, as it places foreign corporate profits first and enforces denial of unfortunate "externalities". There is no recognition that we have become slaves of our own human artifacts of money systems. Our money systems are extremely poor systems of management. We externalise all of impacts (Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology) to ruin our biosphere systems, which are evolved miracles of self-regulating and self-reproducing, now succumbing to global money systems siege, which cannot be restored to health without money-systems back down.
As John McMurtry says with overwhelming repitition: "Our money systems
hold no valuation or understanding of biological life systems".
"I find it difficult to believe that an industry whose business model depends on fossil fuels could have been completely ignoring major environmental reports, major environmental meetings taken place in which carbon dioxide and climate change were talked about". So said Naomi Oreskes, on Fossil Fuel corporations in the 1970's. She might as well have been talking about Australian Governments from the 1970's to right now in 2020 , whose business party models still depend on fossil fuel mining and corporation donations.
Our civilization ruled by governments for whom balancing the budget is the hallmark of good government propaganda. Everyone put on the payroll becomes happy to carry on with the global deception of "Don't Panic". Government believes it can continue on like this, so long as the daily bread, pay, welfare, beer and sports circuses are delivered. Everything has become a tasty flavor-aid used by our governing money-cultists to keep us happy while we walk down the road to species-annihilation.
In order to be taken as genuine, our media systems worthies, the politicians and celebrities of our news media first have to get themselves off the money-systems pay-roll. But that of course marks a person as no longer worthy for serious attention by corporate-controlled media.
To avoid extinction, the number one rule should be to protect our biosphere on which our species continuation depends. Something is wrong when ecosystems and species are collapsing all around, the global climate is becoming terminal, yet governments continue with their private money shell-games and control-freak deceptions, a pretense that everything is under control. That just means our money systems are still controlling everything. As if our environment protection laws are already the best in the world. No, that cannot be true, since the record shows that they are have been deceptive and permissive. As you might expect, their legislative crafting was controlled by our money systems.
Environmental approvals are our systems indication of the amounts of money and political favors exchanged. Causing massive permanent damage to, and blatant disregard of our biosphere environments should be an immediate cause of government overthrow if somehow we are still a sane human species. Signs of the recognition of insanity, and the real dangers we face, are evident in some of our public discourse and cultural productions.
Fossil fueled political madness and invective
The two guys depicted in the David Pope cartoon at the bottom, both work as insane political marketing operatives for foreign gas corporations. They are fossil fuel party-certified pretenders put in charge of Australia by targeted corporate money and fossil-fuel media. For public and global safety, they need to be removed from public office, and they know it.
A climate emergency declaration bill was dismissed by the government in the lower house, with Angus Taylor declaring it to be "symbolic and impractical". (The man with the gas mask).
I hereby declare that Australia has a brain-dead "climate-inoperative" government. It has been climate brain-dead for more than 50 years. Our government isn't even capable of symbolic climate action. It needs to be immediately evicted from office, as we are now officially in a national climate emergency.
Whether or not the government of the day sees fit to acknowledge it, enough Australian people have declared a climate emergency, including a record 400,000+ signatures petition, which represents a big effort. It is ignored by the brain-dead government. The LNP has been in power for majority of the last 5 decades by fossil-fuel industries. It is absolutely corrupted. The political attitude is fatalistic and climate-suicidal hopeless. This party cannot ever be expected to budge an inch in their abject servitude to foreign fossil fuel mining corporations.
A symbolism too far
'Grand symbolic gesture': Attempt to declare a climate emergency fails in Parliament. At least the Australian Labor Party tried. Isn't nationalism an attempt to live up to our symbolism and our best self-image? No climate ambition, no progress. We won't even need to be in a canter to meet the current target of zero new climate mitigation. Australian governments are now among the dirty words in the global climate world.
A population too frightened
Many climate activists are too frightened to spell out the current implications of our state of global heating, in case it might frighten off the members of the public who just couldn't be bothered with taking serious political action anyway. Eighty percent of voters say they understand we have a climate problem. Not nearly enough of them relate this to the political parties they vote for. Come election time, the global climate issue won't get a serious mention in the leadership debates.
A politics too cowardly
Scott Morrison is Australia's current prime minister, leading his party of money-religious-cultists who seem to be planning for our mass climate-suicide by gas. It is just for the money. The government is really all about marketing and symbolism, and they are flying the flag of global heating denial, fictional spending announcements. Meanwhile they work hard to provide their parties fossil fuel mining investors with guaranteed incomes in the coming decades.
Trying to build an expensive, polluting gas plant to reduce emissions and electricity prices is about as effective as trying to create clean air by farting in an elevator. It stinks.
Unfortunately the cartoon at the bottom is a true depiction of our the current situation. NSW Liberal Party state government minister Matt Kean really does ask for climate sanity and an end to political partisan climate debate.
The energy and environment minister warned that without driving the necessary transition, a transition that would create jobs and economic opportunity, Australia could “find ourselves on the wrong side of mega-trends like rising carbon-based protectionism while other economies steal our march in new clean technologies and industries”.
But this appeal by a state government minister is only to the money side of things again. Global life systems barely merit a consideration, only in as much as their exploitation contributes to our "prosperity". After all, he is on their side. That side are the people who expect to get more prosperity than anybody else. The federal opposition party leader Anthony Albanese, despite supporting the climate emergency declaration, won't commit his party to new emissions targets, not until after the next IPPC release. Nor does the public have any details about his actual understanding of how much of a climate emergency we are really in for now. Global life systems seem to barely merit a consideration. Mr Albanese, as always, now allows the minority Greens to do the real political work. The ALP waits for the current government to get a global pelting with invective publicity at the next international climate meeting. The ALP fears having to take any "political risks" on climate and energy. The ALP team are climate cowards against the might of corporate international money launderers, and are quaking in fear of the relentless Murdoch Media, which are totally fossil-fuel owned.
100% Renewable energy won't be enough, even if we had it now
Even the most ambitious of global climate mitigation target announcements made so far, are insufficient responses to our global heating emergency. There is absolutely no danger of any nation doing too much global heating mitigation. Our predicament is that bad already.Targets are not needed. "Negative emissions" technologies are already required, since last IPCC report finally published in 2018, the work for which started around 2015. No need for the ALP to stand back doing nothing. Large scale reflective geo-engineering projects are already being proposed as a long term global survival necessity.