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Australia doesn’t care to break its coal habit in the face of climate change (arstechnica.com)
27 points by okket 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments





In australia we used to have a carbon tax, until the Liberal party & National party coalition was voted back in to federal government and repealed it.

You can see the impact of the carbon tax here:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2018/jan/09...

search for "The exclusion of LULUCF emissions shows just how greatly this affects our goal of reducing emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2030"

Spot the dip?

if you happen to live in a less ecologically lamentable country, please lobby for trade sanctions on australia. we need a bit of encouragement to help feel the pain of our short-sighted decisions early.

edit: to add a bit of subtlety that isn't mentioned in the article, australia exports both thermal coal and coking coal. coke is used to produce steel. so while running coal power plants is not a great idea, some coal may still be necessary to produce steel. i don't have a handle on the relative proportion of thermal coal vs coking coal exports


For the benefit of non Australians:

> liberal party & national party

"Liberal party" is theoretically "both strains of non-Labour thinking": liberals and conservatives. But in reality they're the conservatives. Socially liberal folk wouldn't vote for the Liberal party but for Labour or the Greens [1].

National party are the farmers.

[1] This is assuming Labour is still moderate left. I like in the UK now so it's entirely possible they shifted like Labour here did.


"Socially liberal folk"

Bit of a can of worms with that one - what does socially liberal mean? The Australian Liberals are reasonably socially liberal, they just think the current status quo is pretty good and there is no need to change that. Anyway...

There are big trans-national political umbrellas, the Australian Liberals are aligned with the IDU like the US Republicans (https://www.idu.org) and the Australian Labor Party are aligned with he Progressive Alliance like the US Democrats (http://progressive-alliance.info/en/).


> The Australian Liberals are reasonably socially liberal

Historically, they're pro Monarchy, militarily hawkish, aligned with religiously conservative groups, and anti-gay, which are all non-Liberal positions.


Pah, the Australian Labour have historically been associated with religiously conservative Catholics. Religion isn't a party thing. Neither is hawkishness, both our parties will fall into line behind the Americans when they want troops somewhere. Pro-monarchy is meaningless, that is complete symbolism, and Turnbull led the party despite having actively campaigned to move to a republic.

And the liberal government just passed a massive great bill legalising gay marriage, literally last year. If that is anti-gay, it'd be interesting to see what utopia you have in mind for our homosexual friends.

Just because they aren't beating people over the head with progressive values doesn't mean they aren't social liberals. Liberal has a specific meaning where you leave people alone to do whatever it is they do.

PS Just for fun, 5 electorates that had some of the highest No votes for the gay marriage plebiscite were safe Labor seats clustered in Western Sydney - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-42006450 - which shows the lack of true "liberalism" in parts of the Labor party base.


> Liberal has a specific meaning where you leave people alone to do whatever it is they do.

Well yes, as the comment you're responding to states. I did mention 'historical' as I've been out of Aus for 10 years, and did say that "provided Labour hasn't changed like Labour UK has". It's entirely possible the landscape has changed, with hard left going Green, liberals voting Liberal, and social conservatives voting Labour. I'm out of touch, hence that proviso.


This is a problem I would like to fix, if enough liberal minded folk get elected to the Liberal party then they would bring it back from the conservatives.

Or maybe it is time for a third party like the Democrats to come back and eat up the middle vacated by Liberals going right and Labor going left. Though the Greens are pushing Labor towards the centre.


This is particularly insane since climate change is directly affecting Australia's other major industry - agriculture.

This kind of attitude is not going to be easily forgiven in 50 years time.

While they have a front row seat to the demise of the great reef. Doesn't give me hope for humans.

Focussed media attention on the Great Barrier Reef may be the one way to wake up the Australian electorate.

Here in the U.S.A., hurricanes are great promoters of climate change awareness.


Considering Australia has vast amount of unused land and sunlight, why do they not have quarter of it cover in Solar panels? Lots of energy intensive industry, and less Coal?

Mining has dwarfed so many other industries for so long: coal aside, gold, iron ore, oil, and uranium are mined in Australia, sometimes for hundreds of years.

That history, combined with Australia being a very myopic country (many older people still think the 1990 global recession was caused by the Australian Prime Minister due to a bad-faith reading of his comments about 80's hyperinflation) means this is unlikely to change.


IMO, the Australian government policy on coal is a clear example of crony capitalism and does not represent the wishes of a substantial majority of the population.

That’s how all capitalism ends up.



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