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Captain Abbott and his Titanic climate stupidity

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Tony Abbott is insanely bent on taking us down with the ship if he doesn't address global warming, reports psychologist, Lyn Bender. 

TONY ABBOTT openly declared his war on the environment and our home the earth from the outset. It was his consistently expressed intent. Australia has elected a home wrecker.

The story of the sinking of the unsinkable Titanic is an old tale that warns us of the folly of hubris, the danger of disbelief in the possibility of failing, and the foolishness of unfettered commerce.

The fate of people who will live over the next century is in our hands. What are we bequeathing to them? A trashed planet wracked with drought, floods, fires, storms, food and water shortages disease and conflict.

Meanwhile in the lavish opulent first class dining room of the unsinkable Titanic, the Captain reclines, confronting big decisions about the menu. Our Captain Tony Abbott is making captain's calls.

Those who sit at his table are among the world’s wealthiest citizens, and have paid a hefty price to dine in his company. Any doubts about icebergs or storms are scoffed at as merely alarmist. In drunken moments, the Captain calls these fears absolute crap.

His closest cronies are often inebriated and smoking cigars on deck.The commoners in third class steerage are complaining about cramped airless cabins and seasickness. They cry that it is unfair and inequitable on board.
 
The Captain and those who sit at his table, call them a pack of whingers. They wouldn't be sailing at all if it weren't for the wealthy paying the bulk of the cost and doing most of the heavy lifting. The Captain prides himself on not wasting money.

Despite the obvious mathematics of the numbers of passengers and the numbers of lifeboats, he has not squandered money on too many lifeboats. He has nevertheless ensured that there are enough life boats for the important passengers.

It is a pitch-black moonless night. But those dancing inside are having the time of their lives shimmering beneath dazzling chandeliers. Except for the plebs in steerage of course. Hubris and a belief in the superior capacity of humans to overcome nature is to be their undoing. The ship is going full steam ahead – with coal-fired engines – as the captain has ordered. The owner insists that they get to their destination in record time, despite the warnings about ice flows.

They are on a course to catastrophe. How many will survive?

The disaster of the Titanic sinking is over a century old; but what has been learnt? Not much.

The warnings about human induced climate change have reached a crescendo. The big melt is on. Huge sea level rises are now set in train. IA reports that the Western Antarctic glacier shelf melt is now believed to be unstoppable. Can I repeat that in the way of Captain Abbott? The Western Antarctic glacier shelf melt is now believed to be unstoppable! Can I be crystal clear? This ominous warning is based on NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States.

In climate science parlance it is a tipping point from which there can be no retreat.

 

The unknowns are how long will it take and how high the sea will  rise? Estimates are four feet over next centuries. But don’t relax about that. It’s not something we can fix over time. Coastal cities are doomed to be inundated. But we have a captain who is doing less than nothing to try to avert the full catastrophe.

Abbott is turning the clock back decades on climate action. He is promoting fossil fuels and drowning renewable industries. (The fossil fuel industry receives over $10 billion in subsidies.) Tony Abbott is dismissing all warnings and worse than that, he is ruthlessly undoing any mechanisms already in place to reduce the rising emissions.

In fact, climate change may be the one thing he almost told the truth about. He fought the election on the axing of the carbon tax and the scrapping of the mining tax. These two measures had been heading in the right direction, to reduce our carbon footprint. They were applauded internationally.

Al Gore praised the Gillard Government’s carbon price as ‘inspirational.

Jeffrey Sachs US leading economist has also applauded the carbon tax on polluters.

The recent budget cuts have justifiably spawned protests and rage throughout Australia from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

But in all this furore, something life shattering has escaped notice. Yes it’s the planet again. Yawn. I mean who needs a planet when you have an economy? But that concept is like the value of money on the Titanic as it sank and is rendered of little worth. With a destroyed environment there is no viable economy. Yet climate change barely rated a mention in this budget. The Sydney Morning Herald reveals that

 ‘an analysis of the budget shows that climate change commitments are to be left to the eleventh hour’

When do we start to visibly sink?

But the onslaught of the 2014 budget has voters reeling like punch-drunk boxers in a ring.

Cartoon by John Graham

Thus, the assault on the environment has seemed to go unnoticed.

In quietly received announcements, we learned that renewable energy bodies are to fall under the axe. The following actions are part of Abbott’s war plan on our environment.

  1. Scrapping the carbon price and any progress towards an emissions trading scheme.
  2. No mining tax.
  3. ARENA the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is to be abolished. ARENA chairman, Greg Bourne, expressed anger at the decision in the budget to rip $1.3 billion out of the agency and reduce it to "a  branch of an agency in the Department of Industry with a ‘token amount’ of funds."
  4. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEFC which the coalition has vowed to scrap.
  5.  In addition, climate change denier ex Caltex Australia Chairman, Dick Warburton, has been placed in charge of reviewing the renewable energy targets.
  6. Abbott has all but dropped the pretense of Direct Action being a credible answer to climate change with its miserly puny laughable five per cent reduction target.
  7. The CSIRO climate research has also taken cuts in the budget.
  8. Paying polluters to not pollute with no penalties for pollution.
  9. No more than $3.2 million will be spent on Direct Action whether it actually achieves its target or not.
  10. Axing of the Australian Government’s environment ministers’ forum — after 41 years.
  11. Fast tracked environmental approvals to allow increase in mining in Galilee Basin.
  12. Abbot Point to become world’s biggest coal port. News Flash: Deutsche Bank has pulled out of funding due to environmental concerns.
  13. Dumping of three million cubic metres of dredging waste on barrier reef.
  14. Ditched marine parks management plan.
  15. Delisting sought of Tasmanian Forest World Heritage listing.

Environmental groups and activists are fighting back and with some wins, but climate change has become the great-unnamed humungous elephant in the room.

 Our planet, mother earth, our only home, supplier of all infrastructure and life sustaining services, underpinning of all economies, is facing life threatening danger! 

 

The conversation has been stymied, suppressed and distorted. It has been mocked and science has been denied.

Tony Abbott has at the same time hijacked the lexicon of the actual emergency: global warming. He repeats the following, but in relation to his false (budget) emergency. Yes, it is the great challenge of our time. Doing nothing and business as usual is not an option. The lives of our children and grandchildren and the, as yet, unborn, depend on the decisions made today. World-renowned economist, Jeffrey Sachs, has noted the Abbott government’s obdurate recalcitrance regarding climate change action, saying

"It's amateur hour, at a time when we actually need something serious."

 Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State in the Showtime series 'Years of Living Dangerously’:

“We are the first generation to experience climate change and the last generation who can do anything about it.”

Our world and its future are in dire straits and we need to talk seriously about climate change now.

We can’t afford a leader at the helm who criminally denies this. 

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John Graham's art is available for purchase by emailing editor@independentaustralia.net. See a gallery of John's political art on his Cartoons and Caricatures Facebook page.

 

 
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