There’s been so much political spin around the Julia Gillard government’s carbon tax announcement. Of course, there’s the predictable hysterical hollering from Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and the climate change denier’s camp, but there is also tons of bullshit from the Labor government.
However, a couple of developments have provided a much-needed reality check.
On July 12, ABC News said: “Coalmining giant Peabody Energy has teamed with steelmaker ArcelorMittal to launch a $4.7 billion bid for Australian miner Macarthur Coal.”
This was the biggest-ever bid for a coalmining company in Australia and the bid was well above market expectations.
Peabody’s bid made nonsense of the opposition’s shrill warnings that Gillard’s carbon tax, which will morph into a carbon pollution trading scheme by 2015, spelled the end of Australia’s massive and growing coal industry.
Gillard’s spin merchants were quick to crow about the Peabody bid. But all it really proved was that Gillard’s carbon tax is not a genuine or serious atttempt to address the climate change emergency.
The coalmining boom will continue. Government modelling for its “carbon tax” impact says coal production will rise by 109% to 150% by 2050. It expects gas-fired energy to rise by more than 200% by 2050.
There will be no serious investment — public or private — into the needed radical transition to a 100% renewable energy-based economy.
And if more proof of the fakery of Labor’s scheme, there was this other telling news report.
Peter Martin wrote in the July 14 Sydney Morning Herald: “If Australia’s economists had the vote, Julia Gillard’s carbon tax would win a landslide.
“A survey of 145 delegates attending the Australian Conference of Economists in Canberra finds 59% think the tax is ‘good economic policy’.”
These economists were mostly economic rationalists — true believers in the corporate profits-first orthodoxy that has dominated that profession since the 1970s.
What they see as “good economic policy” is good for big business profits and not for our common good or good for the environment.
Unfortunately, some very influential voices in the Australian environment movement have jumped on the Gillard Labor carbon tax bandwagon and regurgitated (or at least endorsed through lack of criticism) the deceitful spin Gillard’s salespeople have been generating.
What brought these people, who know better, to go along with the government’s spin?
Was it desperation to win some sort of “mainstream” hearing? Was it political expediency? Or was it lowered expectations of how much change is possible? It was probably a combination of all these.
The movement for action on global climate change has grown rapidly, but it has a serious weakness. Many in the movement don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge the fact that we live in a society dominated by powerful corporations, which are objectively unsustainable due to their need to put profits above everything else.
It actually doesn’t matter what this or that corporate CEO thinks about climate change. It doesn’t matter whether the corporations have pretensions to make a greener capitalism. They are all locked in a battle for which company makes the biggest profit.
This is the death dance that grips the global economy. Any measures that really address the climate change crisis must cut deeply into corporate profits. There are no win-win solutions. That’s a foolish fantasy the world really cannot afford.
The truth will out, if painfully. Green Left Weekly has refused to go along with the cheer squad for Gillard’s climate change scam.
We’ve refused to be bullied into the “groupthink” that has paralysed much of the environment movement from speaking the truth on this matter over the past two years.
Green Left Weekly is committed to the truth and to advocating the radical climate change response that the science demands.
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