Category Archives: Business as usual

The Ides of March come more than once a year down under

Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

And so it is done.

We have removed another Prime Minister from office. I was also part of the chorus calling for her resignation.

Did I feel my reasons were justified?

Perhaps.

Pragmatism tells me a hard choice had to be made.

Pragmatism tells me it was needed to avoid a forthcoming decade or more of conservative rule.

Without doubt we would have seen the stripping away of environmental and social protections under an Abbott led government with a super-majority.

Pragmatism told me something had to be done to avoid – or blunt the scale of – the victory of politicians beholden to mining billionaires.

Pragmatism called for the sacrifice of the individual for the sake of many.

But my conscience knows something very wrong took place, that all of us – every adult Australian – was complicit.

Every politician, every journalist, every pundit and every voter: we all have blood on our hands.

The Ides of March come more than once a year down under.

We have revealed our dark hearts: a nation of assassins.

Obama “trust the science” while talk of an Amercian carbon tax begins: the ground is shifting

Reasons for some optimism perhaps. Firstly, Obama made climate change the centre piece of his State of the Union Address:

In a soaring inaugural speech, Obama defined the climate crisis as a moral issue for the generations. For his follow-up act, the president must persuade Americans that climate change is a clear and present threat to their daily lives and their livelihoods, requiring action now, said Paul Bledsoe, who directed the White House climate change taskforce under Bill Clinton. 

“I think he has to frame climate change as an issue here, now, and as a threat. I think he has to frame it as a domestic issue – not a global issue,” he said. “The challenge is to frame climate change as an issue with large costs that are only going to grow. That is his biggest opportunity. That is what he has to do.” 

Obama does something that many politicians have failed to do: state emphatically there is good reason to “trust the science”:

Great quote: “If congress won’t act to protect future generations, I will”

But Obama also promises to open up more oil and gas permits.

Just as interesting, but overlooked so far, are recent moves to introduce a tax on carbon in the United States. The following article in The Nation explains:

Only an hour before President Obama is expected to deliver his State of the Union address—in which he might “go big” on the issue of combating climate change—two Senators announced they will introduce comprehensive climate change legislation this week, presenting a possible vehicle in the Senate for Obama’s ambitions.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax…

As many know, the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill introduced in 2009 but was abandoned. It was regarded as a victory for fossil fuel and polluting interests.

However, such legislation was always going to resurface – the efforts of vested interests and the denial machine are merely rearguard actions designed to delay such initiatives.

Like Big Tobacco their intent was to stall the inevitable.

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