We interrupt our stories for a news flash.
In 1996 Martin Green and his team of Uni of NSW researchers were leading the world in solar technology. John Howard axed their funding and the team dispersed, snapped up by institutes in California and China. California now has the most ambitious renewable program in the US and we buy our solar panels from China. ‘Nuff said.
Kev 07 dropped the baton too. He was ambitious and naive. Naiveté leads him to presume logic trumps ignorance and people will do the right thing. He convinced Malcolm Turnbull, a lawyer who is open to logic and negotiation. But Abbott is a man of faith who, without evidence, declared ‘climate change is bunkum’. In the age of the ten second grab and where Celebrity rools, bullshit beats brains any day. But back to naiveté and the insulation scheme debacle.
Cowboys robbed the bank in a vacuum of non-supervision, where every other aspect of building is so closely monitored, too much was presumed. They were allowed to bypass scrutiny to cause fires, deaths and injuries. A million homes were insulated, most probably OK. But it used up Kev’s political capital. It is that loss which will prove to be the more tragic.
He needed his political credibility intact if he was to tackle ‘the biggest challenge facing this generation’ but support for his cap and trade emission scheme plummeting from over 60% to around 40% and is now a dud. Three or four errors of detail created sensational media releases and allowed climate change deniers to brand the science a conspiracy. And although every mistake was balanced by a thousand indisputable facts, it was the errors that grabbed the headlines and we too grasped the errors.
Australians are the world’s worst polluters per capita. All other countries with significant energy infrastructure, including China, have more power coming from non-fossil sources than we do. Germany, the strongest economy in Europe and the only Green Party led government in the world, is ahead by a country mile so the ‘we are waiting for the rest of the world’ claim is a self-serving lie as is the ‘lost jobs’ mantra. In Germany, Green jobs replaced black jobs just as a century before, foundries replaced harness makers.
Like a kindergarten kid with a desire to do good things and be a hero, Kev wanted to go to Copenhagen with his show-and-tell emission trading scheme approved. Unfortunately, his naiveté and impatience destroyed Nelson and Turnbull, both potential emissions trading allies. Removal of the moderates gave Abbott the power to muddy the waters and use fear of change to protect his polluter mates from a carbon tax. He is the political equivalents of the shonky pink bat installer. Win now and bugger the consequences.
When Penny Wong was allowed to be frank, she said ‘there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide’ and that is the most prophetic statement you will hear. Pussyfooting around the problem now will create unimaginable mayhem within the lifetime of our children and their children. The turning point was Peak Oil two years ago, masked temporarily by the economic crisis. But as the world economy recovers from Goldman Sachs’s robber barons and their shonky bonus-creating ‘financial products’, we will be paying $2 a litre, $5 a litre or conceivably $10 a litre and that will be just the beginning.
Lemmings don’t really jump off cliffs, but humans do!