There is going to be a great deal said about Carbon – A Carbon Price, A Carbon Tax, and it will be cool rational consideration that will provide a way forward. It would seem that there unlikely to be a lot of that in the political process.
Carbon: Carbon is a naturally appearing element and it is quite common, appearing in materials such as diamond, coal, and carbon dioxide. It is part of the living process and most (possibly all) forms of life involve carbon in there make up. The climate change argument suggests that as a result of industrialisation humankind has increased the emission levels of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere and this has a detrimental effect on climate. The planet has always dealt with Carbon Dioxide through the forests where the trees absorb carbon dioxide, converting the carbon to timber and growth and returning oxygen to the air.
Double Impact: The two major impacts that have occurred as a result of industrialisation is the consumption of large amount of electricity, generated by coal fired power stations which are inefficient and exude large amounts of carbon dioxide to the air where the carbon level is measured in tonnes. At the same time with have ruthlessly decimated forests for wood chip and all manner of things, including land clearing. This of course in a double whammy for the planet. We are sticking more carbon dioxide in whilst tying the earth’s hands behind it back so that it cannot deal with it. We have, from the logic of most clear think people, contributed to the imbalance.
Economics: Clearly it has been very profitable to exploit the forests and burn coal, but perhaps some of that profitability has been at an unaccounted cost, the damage we are doing. One the one hand we want jobs and we want lifestyle, however the argument must be seen that we need to work put some more reasonable approach tot he costs.
Australia: It is easy to think that Australia is little and it does not make sense for us to burden our economy and people with these costs, as they will have only minimal impact if the big polluters (China, India, and the US) don’t do something about it. On the other hand perhaps we can lead the way and make some difference. We have often punched above our weight and can do so again.
Short Term / Long Term: The cost of any action that we take will be in the short term and the benefits will only be in the medium to long term. Always a hard sell to the I want it now generation.
More: I will no doubt write more about this as we work through the issues. I would love to know where the Foreign Minister stands on this one.