Tackling Climate Change in Australia


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Greenpeace ad in the Sydney aquarium

Australia fears the consequences of more extreme weather and how it might impact their national economy, geology and society in general. The last few years, Australian voters have been voting over the future of their environmental policies. Different paths and policies have been introduced. The Gillard government for instance introduced a carbon tax which was seen as a step forward by some, and a controversial move by others. Personally, I find myself to be somewhere in the middle as putting taxes on everything we do not like or want to get rid of could be considered a slippery slope, in other words why stop there? On the other hand, it offered a good incentive for Australians to cut carbon emissions and so they did. By 11% according to official government figures.

The big question remains though, how can Australia lower its emission in an effective way? And at what price for society? Some scholars argue that the government needs to redirect its environmental track completely, taking into account that Australia is the 10th largest emitter of CO2, whilst others are fiercely against any measure or even the political debate about a change in policy. This is also part of the problem, Australia is still stuck in a position where consensus in the general population is miles away, overarching agreements and even a proper debate is still tucked beneath the bed.

In many ways this is ironic, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott was elected on the grounds of introducing more effective environmental schemes. This happened in 2013, but Australia is still lacking a clear cut environmental profile.

That might prove to be serious as the country is by many climate experts said to be extremely vulnerable to environmental changes. Some states may already have seen parts of what could be expected in the future. Residents in New South Wales woke up to record breaking temperatures last summer, people in Queensland have been facing increasingly fierce tropical storms and the population in Victora has spent the last year trying to gain control over the numerous wildfires.

So where should Australia head next then?

A combination of the schemes introduced by the Gillard government, increased awareness among Australians and a gradual switch over to renewable resources would be the short answer. The longer answer would require more details, but as a starting point it would mean to completely reshape the current energy platform and to take advantages of the excellent resources the country is possessing. Ironically the same resources that are endangered if the current trend is continuing.

In other words, Australia needs to think radically outside the box. Create incentives in order to move consumers away from traditional platforms, introduce alternatives, incorporate technology that will allow for a reduction of emission in both the private and public sphere.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/02/3443604/australia-hottest-two-years/

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/05/australia-risks-going-backwards-on-climate-change-and-straining-pacific-ties

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ http://article.wn.com/view/2014/06/13/Pacific_leaders_warn_Australia_isolated_on_climate_change/

http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/06/10/australia-canada-to-withdraw-from-climate-change/

http://phys.org/news/2012-09-australian-coal-basin-polluter-greenpeace.html

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