Erm, The Global Thing

This has me scratching my head.

Here in Australia the main political opposition are the conservatives. Or at least they call themselves that - in reality they're radical moral reactionaries. It'd be nice to see a genuine conservative in politics again, rather than somebody who does all of the things conservatives used to profess to disapprove of, like demolish public institutions. But that's for another day. Here and elsewhere the conservatives trot out an argument opposing too much action against climate change that goes something like this.

Because the biggest polluters in absolute terms are places like the US, India and China, unless they sign up to some sort of reduction in emissions, we'll just be shipping our jobs overseas if we go it alone. In other words, we're a pimple on the global economic arse, and anything we do alone won't make any noticeable difference to global warming.

Ignoring the valid counter-argument that per capita we're carbon junkies, right up there with world's best practice, and that places like India on a per capita basis are (I believe) much less guilty. The thing that has me both amused and puzzled is that the argument the conservatives currently use is the same one people made against them, for years, when they were merrily slashing and burning subsidies and tariffs to expose all of our other industries to "market forces". They thought that was right and proper, trumpeting the virtues of globalisation and free trade etc.

Suddenly they're the protectionists, to the nth power. And in true schizoid fashion at the same time they're still free trade fundamentalists, just not with any industry that might come into an emissions trading scheme.

The press of course take little interest in this sort of thing, exorcising their boredom with an impending Canberra winter down in the gallery by dreaming up more leadership fairy tales starring Peter Costello. Such an incestuously cosy relationship they must have down in that gallery, wining and dining with the pollies and feeling like they have the finger on the nation's pulse. Most days you're hard pressed separating a gallery piece from the rich twits about town social pages.

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