What do we do about the United States? This essay examines the competing pressures and imperatives that have shaped the U.S. response to global warming and why it has failed, thus far, to assume a leadership role. It will be discussed how, on the one hand, the U.S. is under pressure from the global community to show leadership, but on the other, is constrained by the imposition of business interests on public policy, institutional barriers, neoliberal political ideology and American unilateralism.
Whilst the Federal government has failed to prosecute its traditional leadership role, the economy is slowly transitioning to a low carbon economy thanks to initiatives by State and institutional forces. These factors, along with the current devastating drought, are combining to fill the leadership vacuum vacated by Washington. Genuine progress is now being made to decarbonize the economy. How significantly this will address the question of what to do about the United States is discussed later in this essay. Continue reading
cartoon by Wes Mountain
Tony Abbot made such an ass of himself trying to put one over us with a pensioner’s electricity bill, he’s been on the naughty mat ever since. Thankfully, we appear to have been spared the daily litany of carbon tax misdemeanours, lest we remember his.
But if Mitt Romney wins the U.S. Presidential election in a fortnight’s time, Abbott may well be tempted to make an ass of himself again on this subject.
There’s no doubt a Romney win will signal a return to Bush’s ‘business first, people last’ agenda. He opposes fuel-economy standards, wants to expand tax breaks for big oil companies and wind down investment in wind power; in other words, the same agenda we’d see in Australia if Abbott gets into the Lodge.
But, before the next election, Tony Abbott will need to convince the Australian public to get shot of the carbon tax ― like the Republican-dominated Congress dispensed with Obama’s cap and trade bill. Abbott will likely come up with the same absurd argument he voiced on his return from the United States in July this year, when he claimed:
“The last thing they want to do is damage their competitiveness, score an economic own goal without doing any good for the environment by hitting their people with a carbon tax.” Continue reading
It’s Spring in the quiet sheepfarming hamlet of Waubra, an hour’s drive northwest of Ballarat in Victoria . With the shearing done and the crops in, local farmers have turned to a bit of Spring-time mending. Not fences, but the town’s image. After three years saddled with the negative legacy of the “foundation” that stole their name, local farmer, Karen Molloy, says the community is fighting back with a bumper festival.
Back in 2009, Waubra hit the news when powerful forces linked to mining interests, and Australia’s climate skeptic factory, the Institute of Public Affairs, used what was then the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere as an easy target for their anti-wind scare campaign. The establishment of the Waubra Foundation followed.
“For three years, we’ve lived here quite happily. We love the wind towers and love Waubra. But it is so much more than wind so we’ve dropped the word “Wind” from the Waubra Community Festival”, Molloy said.
The Festival on Saturday 6 October will showcase the positives of renewable energy as well as the fresh produce grown in its red volcanic soil. There’ll be a “Waubra Gift” running race, free rides, entertainment for the whole family, a free bus from Ballarat and a tour of the wind farm.
“So, come on guys, give us a fair go, give us some positive news”, Karen Molloy pleaded. Continue reading