7 Jun. 2007

Australian Exceptionalism

Data prominently displayed in this week's Economist shames us all:
AUSTRALIA belched out 19.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person in 2004, nearly as much as America's 20.2 tonnes. Like America, Australia declined to sign up to the Kyoto protocol because the treaty did not include large developing-nation polluters such as China...
But China emits only 3.6 tonnes per person.

Surely, if all men and women are created equal, as we profess to believe, then each person on the planet has an equal right to this earth's precious resources, and an equal responsibility to conserve them? Indeed, those of us fortunate enough to live in prosperous countries, profiting from the cheap labour of our less educated neighbours, surely have an even greater responsibility to set an example?

I don't generally post much about environmental issues because there is a limit to how much ground a non-professional blogger can cover, and others like John Quiggin are far better informed on the complexities of this subject than me. But the above stats make one thing abyssmally clear: Australia under Howard has utterly failed to assume even a modicum of responsibility when it comes to global warming. To pretend that we can now show global leadership on the issue, without changing our government, is just absurd.