40 Years ago Australia’s spy agency, the Office of National Assessments, released a reported to the government that warned that the international political movement around carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect would significantly affect our fossil fuels exports and economy.
What has been their reaction?
To actively and publicly deny the risk was there. To pump billions of Australian tax payer dollars into the fossil fuel industry. To actively refuse to subsidise or support, and in fact, actively block, the development and production of alternative exports in low carbon energy production.
Then last year, as they realised the economic impact on our trade and diplomacy had become too great to bear, they suddenly agreed to sign up to a carbon emissions target. and the nationals asked how they could be expected to agree on an emissions reduction plan in just a few days.
On a completely separate occasion the Prime Minister talked about hindsight heroes.
No government can be expected to get every prediction of the future correct, and unexpected events will occur. But, no matter how much they wish a certain outcome not to occur, to not actively prepare for possibility that the MOST PROBABLE outcome does eventuate is sheer negligence.
Our current economy and lifestyle has come about on the basis of international trade and treaties. This means that like it or not the need for action on climate change is a done deal, and it's only the details we need to decide. Even if you don't believe in climate change, the economic impact of not responding in the current international climate has the potential to devastate the economy and our capacity for good trade deals and internaitonal treaties. The fact that both parties are at least pretending to be aiming to achieve this is a testimony to the significance of the impacts if we don't. We still have a chance to be world leaders in the industry, both strengthenong and boosting our economy by billions of dollars, but we are runningout of time until we are merely chasing and copying other nation's developments. Think about our national emblem, the Kangaroo and Emu are meant to signify our forward looking approach, we need to adjust for our technology transition.
The government claims to be concerned about the expected loss of jobs. But has done nothing to create a transition plan to ensure that those that lose their jobs can receive prior assistance and training to move smoothly into alternative employment.
Our coal workers deserve support during the time of transition that will occur, whether we wish it to or not. Meanwhile, Deloit estimates ~250,000 jobs and a $680 billion boost to the economy are ours for the taking if we embrace zero net emissions policy and support industry development (The entire mining sector employs around 148,000 jobs).