September 2, 2014
Mr. Abbot`s new liberal-conservative government has been elected on the promise to abolish the carbon tax on mining, coal power and air transport companies introduced by his predecessor to contain excessively high Australian green house gas emissions. As of first July 2014 the carbon tax has been formally repealed.
The new government claims that electricity and gas prices have thereby been reduced by 9 and 7 per cent respectively and that the measure will boost economic growth.
The previous targets of reducing C02 emissions by 5 per cent until 2020 over 2000 and producing one fifth of its energy from renewable sources, especially wind and solar for which Australia has big potentials, by 2020 seem in shambles together with the institutional and regulatory frameworks that have been put in place over the years.
The coal mining industry and big business have been the driving forces behind this scandalous policy turnabout in one of the most affluent and green house gas emitter countries on earth! With 17 tons C02 emissions per capita emissions, more than twice the EU average, Australia ranks among the 12 most polluting countries on earth!
The dramatic policy shift happens at the very moment when major countries and civil society will meet in New York at the invitation of the UN Secretary General to discuss solutions for the International Climate Compact to be finalised in Paris in December 2015.
The time has come to seriously think about “outlawing” countries which flatly refuse to make any contributions to Humanity’s most pressing challenge: contain temperature increase to less than two centigrade. Australia should become, jointly with Russia and Qatar, one of the first countries to be put on a black list of outlawed countries.
Let us hope that under domestic and international pressure the next government will rethink its strategy, the more so as Australia will be suffer very badly from creeping climate change.
Eberhard Rhein, Brussels, 27/8/2014Author : Eberhard Rhein