U.S. & OZ: Public Climate Concern Not Matched by Government Action
New polls show the vast majority of Australians and Americans to be concerned with climate change. Bipartisan majorities of Americans (90% Democrats, 80% Independents and 60% Republicans) say “the heating of the earth's atmosphere is having serious effects on the environment now or will soon and think that it is necessary to take immediate steps to reduce its effects”. And more than 90% of Australians believe “climate change is a vital issue” — perhaps not surprising given the climate induced “big dry” drought [search] that is decimating the Australian continent and may be the first large scale planetary climate emergency. Yet the executive leadership in both countries continues to stonewall even modest Kyoto emission reduction goals, and the opposition parties offer tepid alternatives that are nowhere near as robust as necessary to solve the problem. For the planet's atmosphere to continue operating we need an urgent and dramatic decarbonization of the economy [search] including dramatic emissions reductions of at least 80% asap; an end to coal power to be replaced by renewables such as solar, wind and local biofuels; a significant global carbon tax and well-regulated carbon market to clearly set a price on and reduce carbon emissions; and major efforts to increase energy conservation and efficiency. This as well as addressing underlying problems causing global heating including over-population, militarism and terrorism, lack of global equity and justice, and over-consumption by many as others starve. Change your light bulbs, drive a hybrid if you can, and take countless other personal actions to reduce you carbon footprint, but without these grander societal changes truly adequate to protect the biosphere and atmosphere in particular, the human family is toast.