[This is the first of an occasional series on what we can do to make our presence on Earth tolerable to the rest of the biosphere, and mostly should do anyway, regardless of one’s view of the dangers or possible means of salvation. It will be filed under ‘Solutions’.]
Australia is one of the largest emitters per capita of greenhouse gases. We are also the world’s largest exporter of coal, which is the dirtiest fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. We must therefore be the world’s worst citizens regarding global warming. However we could be rapidly cleaning up our act, and diversifying and improving our economy in the process.
The Modern Labor approach to serving the workers is, it seems, to allow private enterprises, any enterprises, to create jobs, any jobs. If the enterprises bring in export earnings that is even better. The quality of the employment, the usefulness or otherwise of the product, the pay and conditions, or even if the work occupies more than one hour a fortnight, all of those issues are secondary. The important things are that the unemployment statistic is kept down and that the Government can say money is flooding into the country. Oh, and that the employers are not threatening an advertising campaign criticising the Government.
It is in this spirit that we export vast amounts of coal, though it is by far our largest contribution to global warming and our grandchildren will suffer mightily for it.