It almost feels as if the Enlightenment never reached our shores – and climate policy is but one victim of the malaise
In August 2014, the Australian parliament voted to repeal a scheme that placed a price on carbon emissions. The carbon price was working as intended: reducing carbon emissions while supporting continued economic growth. Australia was once a leader in dealing with climate change; seven years after ratifying the Kyoto protocol, it is now something approaching an international pariah.
At a time when president Obama is seeking emissions limits on new and existing power plants, and when many scientists are arguing for major reductions in fossil-fuel use by 2050 to keep global warming within manageable limits, Australia – among the world’s highest emitters per capita of carbon dioxide – has chosen to become an outlier.
Slate went further, condemning the “rapacious policies of the current government”. In an article headed The Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific, it told its readers how Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world. Strictly speaking, both publications are wrong. Australia is not alone; it constitutes one half of the Canada-Australia axis of carbon…