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now that I have come to fifty years

This excellent piece by Geoff Lemon has been doing the rounds, dispensing the sober truth: almost no one is going to be affected by Australia's new carbon tax. $9.90 extra week will break almost no one's bank.

In actual fact, I think the current carbon tax package is too soft and only a token step towards redressing climate change, but it's little wonder that this is the best the government could do with so many people opposed to the idea, not to the mention opposed to the very concept of climate change itself, and the need to do anything about it.

Then I saw The Global Rich List, where you can rank your innual income against the rest of the world. My paltry postgrad stipend still puts me in the top 11-12%, a rather sobering thought. Yes, the cost of living in Sydney is pretty high, but what is included in that cost of living, anyway? Rent for a roof over my head, electricity and gas to keep me warm and able to cook and see, fresh running water, adequate public transport, and more than enough good food to eat. That's a whole lot more than a lot of people in the world. And if we didn't spend and use so much power and fuel, then the need for a carbon tax mightn't be as dire.

The fact is, very few people in Australia are truly doing it tough, no matter what Tony Abbott says (and as if Mr Abbott himself would even know what that means). Lemon has it exactly right when he says, "Australians, en masse, are enjoying a better standard of living than has ever been enjoyed in this country’s history." There's some poverty, but not much, and those who really cannot afford the increase caused by the carbon tax won't have to.

I'm lucky. We're the lucky country. So why are we so damn selfish sometimes?!


I think Australians have become greedier and more materialistic as we have grown wealthier .The 12 years of Howard with his middle class welfare handouts to those who didn't need them, the pandering to racist sentiment against foreigners for electoral advantage and the shocking levels of deceit practised by his Government have made the people nastier, greedier and more distrustful of politicians. So anything that is put up by politicians if it involves even the hint of a cost to the hip pocket engenders almost pathological bouts of rage among those who feel hard done by and there are a lot of those. The Mad Monk and his minions in the media - Murdoch and the the Parrott and fellow shock jocks don't help much . They keep on fanning the flames of intolerance, fear and hatred higher and higher.

I note that the most fervent climate deniers are usually old and I only have contempt for them. They will not be around to suffer the full consequences of climate change and they don't care it seems as their hip pocket is all that counts. They disgust me. I probably won't be around either and don't have children but I can't understand this total lack of responsibility and care for the future of the planet and the people yet to come. It's truly appalling.

I think Australians now outwhinge the English. We would win Gold Medals if it was a sport.
It's amazing the vitriol of affluent people's reactions when asked to make a more-than-affordable contribution that helps society/the planet as a whole. Reminds me of what happened when the tax rate for people earning £50K+ was comparably increased. You'd think they were being put out on the street to sell matches.

I've been thinking about carbon taxing because of a YA novel. Last week I read The Carbon Diaries: 2015 by Saci Lloyd. It's a vision of a near-future UK that has pioneered a monthly carbon ration. Everything that uses carbon comes out of that: electrical appliances, fuel, travel; carbon is also costed into every manufactured/transported item. When your ration is used up, you'll be walking or cycling to college rather than taking the bus, and it's goodbye to hot showers, internet time, etc.

The novel has its flaws (though I agree more with the first reviewer than the angry ones), but it really made me think about how we're going to have to implement something like this for real, and very soon. As the article you linked alludes, I think most people have no concept of how finite our resources are, and the scale of lifestyle change it's going to take to stop things getting worse.