Year 2, Month 7, Day 28: Julia!

Well, I’m writing this on July 12, after an episode of considerable stupidity a little earlier today. I entered my usual group of search terms into google and found a link to an article debunking the climategate idiocy. I leapt to the assumption that for some reason these were in the news again…so I spent about half an hour generating a letter on scientific integrity versus the right-wing noise machine. A good letter it was, too.

Then I looked at the byline on the article and had a (facepalm) moment; it was about 17 months old. How did it wind up at the top of my google results? Damned if I know. So I put that letter away and generated another piece of boilerplate on Australia’s carbon tax. This one went to the Boston Herald which ran a generic AP feed on the Australian proposal. I’m linking to it from a drive to completeness; I cannot imagine why anyone would need to read it.

The BH is a Murdoch paper. Maybe by the time this post shows up online Rupert will be in prison?

Anyway, sent on July 12 to the Boston Herald:

The Australian carbon tax is an idea whose time has come. Despite the doubts of her constituents and the hostility of the country’s big coal companies, Prime Minister Gillard is showing genuine leadership and a long-term vision that American politicians would do well to emulate. She recognizes that carbon dioxide emissions pose a long-term threat to the world’s stability. If actions today can help reduce the terrifying consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect, all of us will benefit. Conversely, apathy and inaction today will bring a perfect storm upon our descendants. Fifty years ago, we had the excuse of ignorance; now, we can no longer plead that we were unaware of the dangers of a “business as usual” approach to greenhouse gas emissions, for the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible. Our politicians’ unwillingness and inability to do the right thing will resound to their, and our, eternal shame.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 7, Day 27: There’s Something About Julia

More on Australia’s carbon tax plans, from the July 10 NYT:

SYDNEY — Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced a plan on Sunday that would tax the carbon dioxide emissions of the country’s 500 worst polluters and create the second-biggest emissions trading program in the world, after the European Union’s.

The plan is projected to cut 159 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2020, the government said. In 2010, Australia produced 577 million tons of carbon emissions, according to the Department of Climate Change.

This is basically yesterday’s letter, rearranged and reconfigured. It’s fun to use the word “nobility” in the same paragraph with a reference to American politicians. It’s kind of like using the word “genteel” while discussing a Farrelly brothers film. Sent July 11:

Washington wants us to believe that unraveling the safety net for our most defenseless citizens in the name of deficit reduction is somehow an act of political courage, since those same citizens (unsurprisingly) don’t like the idea. But conservatives’ hypocritical posturings have always been supported by the wealthiest and most powerful forces in our economy — and with billions of dollars behind them, their casual dismissal of the needs of millions of citizens has nothing of nobility in it. By contrast, Australia’s Julia Gillard has dared to show something few of our politicians can even contemplate: visionary concern for her nation’s future. By imposing a tax on carbon pollution, she’s confronted both the powerful coal industry and the inchoate fears of her fellow citizens. Why? Because Prime Minister Gillard recognizes that the greenhouse effect and its destructive consequences will be far more expensive than any amount of deficit spending.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 7, Day 26: Up With Down Under!

Australia’s PM is doing something wonderful, reports the Boston Globe in its issue of July 10:

SYDNEY—Australia will force its 500 worst polluters to pay 23 Australian dollars ($25) for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit, with the government promising to compensate households hit with higher power bills under a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unveiled Sunday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard sought to reassure wary Australians that the deeply unpopular carbon tax will only cause a minority of households to pay more and insisted it is critical to helping the country lower its massive carbon emissions. Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas polluters, due to its heavy reliance on coal for electricity.

“We generate more carbon pollution per head than any other country in the developed world,” Gillard told reporters in Canberra as she released details of the tax, which will go into effect on July 1, 2012. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to hold our place in the race that the world is running.”

She’s right. Australia is right. And America is full of blinkered idiots, as usual.

Sent July 10:

Faced with an intractable choice between business as usual and an environmentally responsible policy on carbon emissions, Australia’s Julia Gillard showed something this country hasn’t seen in quite a while: genuine leadership. Promoting unpopular policies on deficit reduction is not the mark of political courage many of our politicians claim; there is no nobility in advocating policies that are heavily favored by deep-pocketed multinational corporations and the monied elites who reap the benefits of their success. Any world leader who ignores the worldwide scientific consensus on climate change (approaching unanimity as rapidly as the Arctic is shedding ice mass) is betting the lives of countless millions of people on a very long shot indeed. In taking on the enormous power of Australia’s coal industry, Prime Minister Gillard is doing something our politicians cannot: the right thing, both for her nation and the world.

Warren Senders