BY: Robert Robergs

The World Condemns Australia’s Stance and Contributions to Global Pollution and Climate Change

On September 23, 2014, the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Change Summit was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Australia was represented by Julie Bishop, our Minister for Foreign Affairs, who addressed the summit and gave a brief and poignant speech1. Of course, remember we do not have a Minister For Science, or Climate Change, or Sustainability, or anything different to mainstream political, socio-economic rhetoric! So it is no surprise that Julie made it clear that Australia only emits 1.5% of total global emissions. But the following quote was the bombshell that has launched world-wide condemnation 2.

We are striking the responsible balance of safeguarding economic growth while taking action on climate change.”

What does this mean? That economic growth, a supposed essential for economic health and prosperity, is a higher priority to climate change? Or does it mean that Australia, and we, all Australians, believe that our way of life is more important than the health of the planet on which we live? That sustaining a future of resource exploitation, petroleum dependence, and coal extraction and export to China and India, has no moral or ethical consequences? Oh, by the way, the world’s top 5 polluters are China, the USA, India, Russia and Japan3. That we should remain uncommitted to serious development and support of renewable energy (solar and wind power), of which Australia is arguably even more rich?

When each country’s CO2 emissions are adjusted for population, guess what, as individuals, we Australians are the world’s leading CO2 emitters!4. Yes, each one us pollutes more than a person in China, the USA, or India. What is our moral and ethical responsibility for such a negative contribution? Isn’t it logical that we should develop our renewable energy industries? Isn’t it logical that an immediate investment to the development of a future ecologically sustainable economy will give Australia a momentous advantage in the future? Isn’t it logical to show the world that if we can change from the worst, to the best, then there is hope for the future?

What if Australia, just once, became a world leader? That is vision. Isn’t that what we elect our politicians to do? Where are our future leaders?