ON JULY 1, Australia introduced a price on carbon emissions. As a result of this, around 300 companies will have to pay the tax, based on a price of $23 per tonne of carbon emissions. After three years, the price will be dependent on the market.
The type of reactions from the public at large paint a disturbing picture of the country, showing that people are largely ignorant of environmental issues and are yet to accept the reality that people have to change their lifestyles if subsequent generations are not to suffer.
The effects of climate change can be seen in many countries around the world, but Australians, cosseted and living in a rich country where the government panders to their prejudices in order to buy votes, are seemingly unwilling to realise that changing the energy production cycle will cost a lot and someone has to pick up the tab.
If changes are not made, and people keep burning fossil fuels, then there will be a very sorry day of reckoning. Alternatives have to be found as the world’s stocks of oil keep dwindling and producing energy by burning brown coal aggravates the problem of climate change.
Businesses that are trying to take advantage of the fear generated around the carbon tax and charge customers more — like the bakery chain, Brumbies — are acting like uneducated yokels. Politicians cannot, or refuse to, understand that the change is needed in order that future generations can build on it and make meaningful steps to reduce greenhouse gases.
It is common to see some redneck or the other being interviewed on TV with his grandchild on his knee, and cursing the carbon tax, whinging away that it is going to hit him in the hip-pocket. The man does not seem to realise that the child on his knee may have no future unless painful steps like the carbon tax are brought in, to make a start towards thinking differently about energy and pollution.
And that redneck should also consider that while the 21.5 million Australians, who are among the biggest polluters in the world, produce 1.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases, a country like Britain, with nearly thrice that number, only produces 1.7 per cent.