Maybe now Australia can start growing up and show by example by living with in our means.
Trump is an overt climate denialist — indeed, an active climate conspiracy theorist. Despite constant opposition from Republican denialists, Barack Obama was able to move the US forward on carbon emissions abatement, despite the lack of a carbon price. Under Trump and especially backed by a Republican-dominated congress, the US will return to being a climate laggard rather than a leader, and with far greater consequences than when a comparatively small country like Australia plays laggard. The consequences are likely to be a significant diminution in the chances of effective emissions abatement, and an increased likelihood of climate change reaching dangerous levels more quickly.
For a country like Australia, which is more vulnerable to the economic impacts of climate change than virtually any other developed country, it’s bad news indeed.
And 10 plus points from the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD>
I have adapted these 10 principles for the Australian context because I do believe this neoliberal backlash is globally relevant. But most are equally applicable to the US.
Hostile oppositions and gridlock politics
We seem to have entered an era of obstructionism, personified in Australia by Tony Abbott, but studiously followed by Bill Shorten. Meanwhile, the gridlock and political posturing in US congress is staggering.
An inability to undertake serious reform
Despite changing PMs five times in five years, it feels very much like Australia remains politically paralysed. Be it the mining tax, gambling reform, GST changes, negative gearing, greyhound racing bans, all it takes is a whiff of anger in the electorate for politicians to decide against upsetting the status quo.
Governing for the sake of power
It’s hard not to believe that politicians these days put their party’s (or even their faction’s) interests ahead of the national interest. Decisions should be made on whether they are better for the country in 20 years’ time, not whether you will win the next election. Sadly, it’s rarely the case. Which is why points 1 and 2 are a problem.
Donations in politics
In September, Sam Dastayari fell on his own chopstick, but politicians again neglected to do anything meaningful about the issue of political donations. People fear the system is being tainted by those with enough money and reasons to protect the status quo. Again, far worse in America than it is here.
Ever tried explaining to a child why someone who buys and sells derivatives all day earns many, many times more than a doctor or school principal? (Actually, ever tried explaining to a child what buying and selling derivatives is?) It’s not easy. The monetary value placed on some professions has become quite perverse. We’ve all gotten used to it.
Neoliberal policies have opened trade borders and helped developing nations haul themselves from poverty. But in the developed world, the benefits have tended to be concentrated in the hands of a few. This is no longer just the slogans of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, it’s an OECD-acknowledged fact.
When this rears its head in Australia it’s really about points 5 and 6. Why are we willingly neglecting Australia’s egalitarian history to introduce a class system dictated by whether your grandparents owned their home?
The world is governed by city-dwellers. The cities, which are growing, have all the best schools, hospitals and roads. If those making the laws of our country had to use the worst of the regional services it might sharpen their mind a bit more to the problems.
Reluctance to rein in big business
Whether it’s Apple and Google’s off-shore tax havens, or Coles paying its workers less, or banks gambling away people’s savings, people are fed up with the big end of town’s insistence it play by a different set of rules from the rest. Of course, their defence is that they are doing the best by shareholders. But guess who owns all the shares? Us elites. People are justifiably concerned government is too enthralled by big business to effectively hold them to account. GFC, anyone?
A country, by definition, has borders. And so if you’re trying to govern a country then recognising and, in some way, enforcing those borders is a pretty core function. Failures to do so have created tensions in Europe, the US and Australia. It’s definitely fair to question how we implement border control – especially in the face of genuinely suffering asylum seekers – but admitting it’s a legitimate concern for people doesn’t seem that difficult. Instantly badging them racist is not going to help either. (Of course, if all rich countries close their borders and ignore the unprecedented wave of refugees, that might lead to a different sort of political pushback, on an even grander scale).
Two other reasons I don’t agree with but can hear loud and clear
A perceived prioritisation of social/identity issues over others
I am in a weird position here. I completely support issues such as, say, marriage equality. But the reality is there are a lot of social issues currently being used for political gain – by both sides of politics. It’s possibly because the major parties are so alike on neoliberal economic policies that they define their differences by their stance on social issues. Which leads to conflict, which leads to lots of media coverage. Which leads some people to believe these issues are receiving more than their share of attention. I get that.
I suspect that were you to poll Trump supporters you would find a very high degree of climate change scepticism. Personally, I believe in science. But we in the “elite” clearly have to hear the message that not everyone’s convinced. My suspicion is it all comes back to the economy (stupid). Those just getting by, pay cheque to pay cheque, have a lot more to fear from rising electricity prices. How are we going to bring them along, without just berating them?
My comment on the last point, when the water has washed away our houses or the food is depleted in the super markets- because the fish are all dead in overheated oceans and the cows have not enough nutrition to live, them the 70%, who are still sceptics on climate change, will then realise its all too late.
Photo below next to Coopers Creek.
Storm last night, brought much need relief from the drama of the week. Walked back this morning after completing 3 hours of jump-seed removal. By walking I found its spread along-side the pushed up gravel on the road’s edge. Graders are its dispersal method it seems.