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

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