It is certainly difficult to attribute a specific natural disaster to climate change. But if you’ve chosen to side with the 95% of climate scientists who believe that the Earth’s climate is changing and that we are mainly responsible, then you probably know that one predicted consequence is an increase in the intensity of natural disasters. (At least that’s what the people who have spent their careers studying the Earth’s climate say – you know, the people whose opinions actually count in this sort of debate.)
The devastating floods in Queensland and Victoria should be a wake up call. Ocean surface temperatures around much of our coasts are 2-3° C warmer than this time last year, and that means more evaporation and more rain. But rather than taking this into account and saying, “Maybe we better prepare for more devastation by combating climate change,” PM Julia Gillard is doing the polar opposite.
An article in today’s West Australian outlines the government’s plans to pay for the massive clean-up bill – something like $5.6 billion
$1.8b is to come from a controversial tax levy that amounts to about $5 a week for someone making $100,000 a year. Sounds pretty reasonable, I think. Checkout where some of the other money is coming from:
- Abolish Green Car Innovation Fund ($234m)
- Reduce Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships ($250m)
- Reduce Solar Flagships ($250m)
- Cap solar hot water rebate scheme ($160m)
- Not proceed with the second stage of Green Start ($129m)
- Cap LPG vehicle conversion scheme ($96m)
- Reduce Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute ($55m)
The list goes on.
It’s an unbelievably short-sighted plan. It’s like paying to care for AIDS sufferers by cutting back on condom supplies. It’s like covering a black-eye with makeup and saying everything will be OK.
There are such logical alternatives. Where are the extra levies on the industries responsible for emitting so much carbon dioxide in the first place? The mining and manufacturing industries? The people that can afford to pay.
Please, Julia, stop trying to please the big businesses and start looking a little further into Australia’s future.