The country of which I became an adopted citizen of, Australia, has a federal government which always claims that Australia "is a
unique case" when negotiating in international forums for climate
action. It is the most unique crime case. Like many selfish anti-social, anti-global crimes justice must ensure hurt rebounds on the criminal more at the end. The uniqueness involves an extreme belligerent hard-nosed attitude with carbon accounting combined with public denial of climate change when it comes to action. This is very much opposite to the global behavior required to have a safe global climate system. This is being done on behalf of global fossil fuel corporations, that are totally into colonial exploitation, and our government is helping them every way it can, because - money.
The foreign coal and gas barons that pay Australian political parties are banking their money on it. There blanket cover-up and political silence over the Australian public, veiled by main-stream media. I must commend the public owned ABC for some real coverage of the issues. News and debate on climate change is muted around election periods. Murdoch news and commercial media are owned by the same money sources. Government ranks are full of empty crowing about how well Australia has met its international obligations using its uniquely easy emissions reduction targets.
In Australia, all the facts are available, but do not seem to have much use for carbon sums in domestic political debates. Issues about "balancing" the budget count more, boring as they are. Some form of harsh international trade sanctions and financial penalties do seem to be necessary to bring our weasel-words political system to heel and reduce exports and national emissions. These sanctions should be applied by other larger, powerful nations that are more intent on ensuring equitable global climate safety. Global financial systems need to penalize carbon cheaters, since governments still pay far more attention to their own money, than to global carbon emissions. No nation can stay on high per-capita emissions, in our new small-carbon emissions world.
Sanctions and financial choking are being applied to countries in the Middle East, which aren't currently at war with anyone. Iran has committed the triple crime of having underground mother lodes of oil, refusing the blandishments of western war diplomacy and control, and wanting to do trade and currency deals with powerful neighbors that live on the same continent. All the local nuclear weapons are in Israel. The war making is currently from Saudi Arabia. If cruel sanctions on Iran are fair game, then it must also be fair to place trade and finance strictures on global climate recalcitrants, such as Australia.
Who else wants profit, defense safety and easy lifestyle, the ability to ignore the acceleration of global heating, at the price of supporting endless remote wars and global heating? This is the making of Australia as a global pariah. People will remember this. Uncle Sam won't protect Australia forever.
What we really have in Australia is super-ordinary case of dirty rotten scoundrels under the constant influence of fossil fuel industry lobbying. In looking at this graph, remember that to have a chance at a safer future global climate, absolute exports and emissions must be declining, down by at least 50% in 2030.
Domestic greenhouse gas emissions from mining and export gas processing are likely to blow Australian emissions reduction targets for 2030 out of the water, given the above expansion plans. Gas processing will likely be the main contributor. Because gas industry will raise both domestic and exported carbon emissions, the Australian government is unable to press for climate change action. It's the money or our lives, and government members consistently decide to prefer the money.
Clive Hamilton in his book "Scorcher" 2007, put up suspicions that the Australian government is a major lobbyist for the climate change denial stance of the USA. Our unique basket cases are contagious. We can only wonder at what was offered in return. Like active involvement in every one of the cursed USA empire wars. Help to shoot at the natives. How else could Australia manage to get what then prime minister John Howard called "a spendid deal". The Australian Defence Forces get appreciated as third rate hired gangsters for the USA Fossil Fuel Empire.
It is hard to understand the thought processes of such "leaders". Is it a white power suicide pact? Their highly destructive Military powers decline as their fossil fuel supply logistics become impossible, so it could be fear of retribution for past crimes.
Fossil fuels helped the USA build its vast military power, global empire ambition, and nuclear arsenal, for oil corporations.Worshippers of the great god of growth. The great fossil fueled acceleration allowed WWII victory and then continued to ramp upwards. With the invention of highly destructive nuclear weapons, no nation felt it could disarm, with a global arms race. Now fossil fuel production is tied to the extent of every military power that burns it. Australian fossil fuel production, or its exploitation by tax dodging foreigners, is tied in some mysterious way to its sense of superiority encouraged by its belligerent big Uncle Sam.
Australia gets to pay for our dependence on the declining USA fossil fueled empire, and buys the most expensive fossil fuel consuming killer hardware kits. Yet most of its fossil fuels are sold to any nation that will pay below market price for a long term contract, or mined directly by foreign agencies after paying minimal royalty extraction fee to its state governments.
The USA and Australia have a common heritage. They were both created as white power colonizers, supported at first by the same big mother fossil fuel empire of Great Britain of more than a century ago. Both have a history of rapid exploitation, abuse and slaughter of ecological riches and peoples to support their own foreign invasive culture. How else does one achieve exponential growth?
Not so now for great Britain, which is in some ways experiencing advanced senility and decline, evidenced by its Brexit crazy break away from European dependence. The dis-united kingdom is literally walking away from its European Union nursing home because it doesn't like the demands of the other residents and is confused and lost, while still believing people must do what it says. At least it has sensible bi-partisan climate policy, something to be said for having become a grown up nation.
The also collapsing USA thinks it can hold onto economic power by building up it's massive nuclear arsenal. A so called civilized global power that can destroy civilization. There are steep declines in physical and mental health at home, evidenced by decreasing duration of life. For several decades the world has suffered from increasing violent outbursts from this paranoid would-be global dictator and fossil fueled maniac.
Nuclear options are always on the table, and bombing other nations is its favorite fun daily activity. Without its big power-bombing uncle, Australia has pathetic military global presence. Tied as a shadow of the USA, Australia has developed next to no foreign policy or climate mitigation good sense. The present government seems to think that it is actually in control, that its fossil fuel party will never end, while its foreign looters are shipping the stuff out the back door while stocks last.
Fossil fuel power has increased size and energy waste extravagance, growth, massive cities, the stampede of roads and automobiles. These are all the creation of a massive temporary surplus of cheap fossil fuel expansion. To be allowed no more, the party is over. Such large widespread structures that dissipate maximum flows of energy, undergo energy collapse when quantity and forms of energy can be no longer supplied.
Australia has no nuclear industry or weapons, but we threaten the world with our accelerated global heating bomb of fossil fuel burning. Nature is already likely to beat us to it. Science reports indicate that the shallow East Siberian Ice shelf is now fast releasing its climate bomb of iced-methane clathrates.
Now of course, its 2020, and the failed Trump presidency is marked by official withdrawal of the USA from international negotiations for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. What a shame. The USA isn't going to be in any sort of position to back recalcitrant Australia demands.
Marian Wilkinson in her recent book "The Carbon Club" has brought the sordid story up to date. Perhaps it could be made into a comedy film, in the style of an old Ealing Studios movies. It would be called "Carry on Burning". For the foreign corporations mining this continent, its "Carry on Looting".
It is doubtful that global economy will actually demand Australian fossil fuels more as global demand decreases. As the foreign corporate looters do like to say, others will end up with excess capacity as well, but we still would prefer to loot it away from you, you are so kind! Buyers of australian fossil fuels will be reducing their own consumption of fossil fuels, if the Paris 2015 targets are to be realized.
By offering to export cheap fossil fuels in large quantities, Australia threatens to lose goodwill of the international climate negotiation process, on behalf of the global mining loot industry. Australia still wants to become the largest fossil fuel exporter in the world, as other nations reduce their production in line with global climate targets.
Firstly in the Kyoto Negotiations, in 1997. Australia insisted on obtaining a special nation dispensation, to be uniquely allowed to have a 8% rise in emissions from 1990 to 2012. It pleaded that its dependence on fossil fuels and energy-intensive exports meant cutting emissions would be difficult.
Then Australia point blank refused to sign at the last minute, unless its 1990 emissions total also included forest clearing activities for that year, which had been very large for that year. I don't know why Australia just wasn't told no and go off to sulk in the corner. This has been a terrible moral hazard, being still so eagerly exploited after two decades. This generous gift to the biggest carbon consumers on the planet, expanded our allowance by about one-quarter of the 1990 total - 131.5 million tonnes of carbon extra, to be added in perpetuity for each extra year of Kyoto duration from a single year's dispensation. This become known as the "Australia clause", although it was worded to apply to all big carbon pollution nations (Annex I nations). I call it the "Australia Scam".
Australia was given a very big carbon emissions reward for doing lots of forest clearing in 1990. One crime to beget another. Australia got its special 8%
increase, and at the end of the negotiations sprung its unique carbon accounting trick of inflating its
baseline year of 1990. Had forest clearing not been included in the 1990
baseline, Australia’s domestic emissions in 2017 were
31.8% above 1990 levels.
With a government like this, their isn't much chance in climate hell, for human species survival. Do we actually care? Apparently not. If this political system can't be fixed, since the politicians won't allow it to be mended or investigated with a ICAC, (Independent Commision Against Corruption). This government is unfit for purpose, it needs to pulled down and rebuilt.
Instead it announces with loud clatter, proposed new fossil fuel projects, and fails to shutdown the climate insane proposals already "pipelined". For instance Coal mining the Galilee Basin is considered viable, an area comparable to the state of Victoria. This shows exactly where the Australian governments understanding goes. Fossil fuels build personal wealth, national military power, and political party funding. That is the kinds of power our politicians crave, for their own short-lived delusions of immortality. That kind of power never wants to let go, and fails to recognize the awesome power of nature that can steam-roll everything.
Large public protests will be in the very least necessary to change the minds, and necessarily, the kinds of people who get to have and use political power and influence, to save ourselves from a global heating burn out.
It’s taken an independent MP, Zali Steggle, to help bring a bill into parliament that would set a timeline for Australia, to change direction and work towards net-zero emissions. It is up to government party members to prove they have grown some global climate sense, to show that everything said on this page is now in the past, and cross the floor to pass this bill.
References from Climate Analytics , commissioned by Australian Conservation Foundation.
Ref Australian Carbon Footprint report -- Actual plans and climate achievements of fossil fuel companies for the Australian government.
Ref Australia’s proposed ‘Kyoto carryover’ - nature, scale, implications, legal issues and environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement -- There is no legal or moral basis for Australian to be given "over-achievement" credits from Kyoto to be carried over to any other international target.