Monday, 17 October 2011

The View from a Far Country

Here's a view of Australia from “across the water” – lots of water, and not rising much, by my analysis. What I see is a microcosm of what's wrong with the world, and politics today. I see the government of a country which was built on coal, whose prosperity resulted from coal, which currently depends on coal, turning its back on it. This degree of economic and political suicide is arguably unmatched anywhere else.

I see a government which has abandoned policies which work for policies which demonstrably don't work, and can't work. I see a government pandering to a tiny minority in order to retain power. Expensive desalination plants have been, and are being built instead of much cheaper dams which serve not one but two purposes, water storage and flood control. Dams apparently “destroy the environment”, whereas clearly it's uncontrolled flooding which does that very efficiently, as well as destroying property, livelihoods and lives.

I see local authorities banning coastal development, or allowing it only if houses are built on piles, because of a projected rise in sea-level which, even if it occurs, will post-date the likely (or useful) lifespan of the buildings.

I see a government which appears to be considering “controlling” the media, presumably because they don't like contrary opinions being expressed. Shades of 1984 indeed. That same government is under pressure from Luddites who want to see a large coal-fired power station closed down, with no alternative sources of energy in place. That same government is introducing a "carbon tax" in order to reduce Australian CO2 emissions by a small fraction of a whole which itself is a tiny 1.5% of worldwide emissions. The economic damage will be tangible, the effect on world climate (even if "worst case scenarios" become reality) will be immeasurably minuscule.

I see state-funded organisations distributing exaggeration and propaganda, some would say lies (I would), about future climate and sea-level rise, in an obvious attempt to scare the population into submission. This in a country whose people's instinctive common-sense and aversion to bullshit is (or at least was) legendary worldwide.

God help Australia.

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