Money has always trumped climate science : 50 years of going backwards
After a record year in 2019 of drought, record temperatures, and record bush-fire damages, noted in the annual BOM climate report, Australian government climate policy is still operates much like it did in the year 1970. Perhaps their minds are still back in the 1950’s , in the case of current slim majority rule of the Liberal — National Party coalition (LNP). Australia is still into expanding coal and gas exports like it is all the rage. Money still trumps science and buys governments.
Here is a little bit of corporate climate science history. GM in the USA knew their motor vehicle emissions would cause global heating 50 years ago. They sponsored some climate scientists to do research in 1960’s. Then they ignored and allowed the results to remain buried. Their business was making lots of money from the manufacture and promotion of polluting gas-guzzlers. That for them, was more certain than future climate consequences. This has required more than just a little quiet “cover-up” of the facts.
The facts are that huge amounts of air pollution are a cumulative bad for individuals and global health. Exxon-Mobil also “knew”, factored climate risks into their fossil fuel development calculations, and then chose to deny them, to allow the world to consume their oil products as fast as possible. Global transport and urban design, all of our energy-machine systems, the build-up of growth of all our cities and civilization, over the last 5 decades, became tied to exponential growth of fossil fuel burning. Our global mega-machine became climate-toxic.
Our Australian political parties, which are still in the thrall of large donations from foreign mining corporations, still indulge after their many decades of climate change cover-up and lies. They still play the same self-serving games.They probably knew about climate change 50 years ago as well as any corporate CEO. But money opportunity in the short-term always trumps scientific concern for accumulated harm.
“Don’t you worry about that” was coined by an australian state politician. Coal politics are still much the same in Queensland. A general rule for any politician is “free-trade” and “free markets” are good, regulation bad. “Coal jobs are good”. Simplification is always good for the sales person.
Kicking indigenous peoples off mining land and blowing up ancient sites is perfect for shareholders. Mining CEO’s get even fatter salaries and payouts. Freedom is is still a code word for making money from exploitation. No worries mates, the media will cover it up for you, and provide necessary lies and distractions. That is who we are, its all in the history records.
Economic growth appears to operate on the principle of “All as means”, (John McMurtry) which includes the purchase of political convenience. Sovereign risk is understood as the danger of a national action causing money-depriving offense to foreign investors. Politicians worry the most about this.l Consequently international investors have more power over Australian policy and political thinking than voters.
Making money is confused with national interest and health. We never let science get in the way of making money. Never come between a State Premier and a bucket of money. Stop and screw science research if you don’t like the answers. This is also the enlightened business principle for the USA, and for our good fossil fuel mates selling the arts of global heating.
But in the following decades, both manufacturers largely failed to act on the knowledge that their products were heating the planet. Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming. — GM and Ford Knew
Progress that has been made, is in the adoption of renewable solar and wind energy in Australia, as in the USA, because these are long-term cheaper by far options. Private households, local councils and state governments lead the way.
The foreign mining industry hasn’t been able to stop this. It fits with a money-first philosophy. This hasn’t stopped in Australia, a backwards looking power grid management and fossilized government from hanging on to their old coal power generators, using regulations and slow upgrades to penalize renewable energy competition. The rate of global heating acceleration, and renewable energy adoption, has long since overtaken the zero rate of fossil political party change in Australia.
Our next generations already suffer the costs. Future human generations will have to contend with shrinking limits of their fast disappearing life support basis. Corporate entities and governments are fully embedded in the capitalist system of making profits, and forget about “externalities”.
Unlike a few years ago, many of us now understand that our futures are at grave risk from changes in our environment — the effect. But the task of today’s perception managers, like those of yesteryear, is to obscure the main cause — our economic system, capitalism.
Johnathon Cook in this counterpunch article references just how hard the Corporate plus Government rule is trying to make us all forget.
Many national governments are going far in targets to replace their fossil fuel energy systems with renewable energy. It is also a fact that fossil fuel exploitation options and cheap supplies are running down. Renewable energy makes economic sense. The more general problem of massive “externalization” of all the other growing costs of industrial civilization still lack effective remedies. They don’t have an easy money solution.
Ongoing ecosystems collapse usually appears in the media as problems of other peoples and species problems. Politics handles it as an unfortunate “side-effect” of our progress. This is easy, because side effects of our industrial systems growth mostly happen elsewhere, because its a global system.
We in Australian can easily ignore the severe raising sea-level problems for pacific islanders, or people living on the lowlands of Bangladesh. This only encourages our attitudes of climate-criminal negligence. Ecosystems collapse gets to be an other-local, and not viewed as a global process caused by global economic systems.
Global heating is just one of the symptoms. Combined systems collapse is likely to take us humans along with it. Australiais labelled a democracy. But its representatives ignore every money-externality as a “somebody else’s problem”. Inaction is guaranteed when corporate-political system controls your party, claims that only its benevolence can feed your nation, and says don’t you dare interfere with our profits. Mostly it is a protection racket. Without it people would be able to re-organize to get by.
External side-effects are the hidden larger part of capitalism, unavoidable to enable accumulations of profits. The guardians of capitalism and property, the police, armed forces, government, laws and justice systems, and media, are jigged-up to suppress all protest against all the “side-effects” of “externality”, leading all the way up to “global mass extinctions”.
Even minor reforms to the money systems, are seen as gross threats to the status quo and capitalism. Effective protests and opposition are met with denial, violence, penalties, incarceration and use of media as a weapon.
The establishment is not preparing to give up on capitalism — the ideology that enriched and empowered it — without a fight. The political and media class proved that with their relentless and unprecedented attacks on Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn over several years. And Corbyn was offering only a reformist, democratic socialist agenda. — Jonathan Cook —
In the UK, Extinction Rebellion somehow got on the police list of terrorists groups along with neo-nazi’s and pro-islamists. Under related UK “Prevent” regulations, teachers and government officials are already required by law to report anyone who they suspect of being “radicalised”. Anyone for “School strikes for climate”? https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/10/xr-extinction-rebellion-listed-extremist-ideology-police-prevent-scheme-guidance.
The establishment has also demonstrated its determination to cling on to the status quo in its relentless and unprecedented attacks onWikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is locked away, seemingly indefinitely, for revealing the externalities — the victims — of the west’s war industries and the psychopathic behaviour of those in power.
My Australian government is clearly content, relaxed and comfortable to have all of this, as it basks under global brands of legal and media control. It places foreign corporate profits first and enforces their denial of unfortunate “externalities”.
There is recognition that we have become slaves of our own human artifacts of money systems, but it’s not yet official so it doesn’t exist in political campaigns.
Our money systems are extremely poor systems of management for global complex systems. We externalise all of impacts (Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology) to ruin our biosphere systems, which are evolved miracles of self-regulating and self-reproducing, now succumbing to global money systems siege, which cannot be restored to health without money-systems back down.
Corporations are immortal persons, therefore they will outlast every human being. John McMurtry says with overwhelming repetition: “Our money systems hold no valuation or understanding of biological life systems”.
“I find it difficult to believe that an industry whose business model depends on fossil fuels could have been completely ignoring major environmental reports, major environmental meetings taken place in which carbon dioxide and climate change were talked about”. So said Naomi Oreskes, on Fossil Fuel corporations in the 1970’s. She might as well have been talking about Australian Governments from the 1970’s to right now in 2020 , whose business party models still depend on fossil fuel mining and corporation donations. They all really know what they are not supposed to admit.
Our civilization is ruled by governments for whom balancing the budget is the hallmark of good government propaganda. Everyone put on the payroll becomes happy to carry on with the global climate deception of “Don’t Panic”. Our Australian government believes they can continue on like this, so long as the daily bread, pay, welfare, beer and sports circuses are delivered. Everything has become a tasty flavor-aid used by our governing money-cultists to keep us happy while we walk down the road to species-annihilation.
I can’t imagine how human caused global heating becomes accepted by other conservative governments outside Australia. One possible strong explanation, is Australia’s strong attachment to the USA fossil fuel corporate controlled military industrial complex. The other is that official bi-partisan acceptance is but the first step climbing the ladder out of denial, which for industrial civilization, is very deep. So we have the furthest height to climb.
In order to be taken as genuine, our media systems worthies, the politicians and celebrities of our news media first have to get themselves off the money-systems pay-roll. But that of course marks a person as no longer worthy for serious attention by corporate-controlled media.
To avoid extinction, the number one global rule should be to protect our biosphere on which our species continuation depends. Something is wrong when ecosystems and species are collapsing all around, the global climate is becoming terminal, yet governments continue with their private money shell-games and control-freak deceptions, a pretense that everything is under control.
Global biosphere fragility means that to avoid extinction, we would have to accept that the biosphere system needs actual dominates the human species, and not the other way round in which prefer our to believe in our own might and agency.
Instead we prefer to submit to the might and agency of our artifacts of money systems which are still controlling and consuming everything. Because money is how state populations are controlled. Australian government pretends our environment protection laws are already the best in the world. No, that cannot be true, since the record shows that they are have been very deceptive and permissive. As you might expect, their legislative crafting was controlled by our money systems.
Environmental approvals are our money systems “markers” of the amounts of money and political favors exchanged. On the massive permanent damage to fragile biosphere, and blatant disregard of our biosphere environments, these crimes should be an immediate cause of government overthrow if somehow we are still a sane human species. Instead we feast on temporary jobs and prosperity, if lucky enough to get a share.
Signs of the recognition of insanity, and the real dangers we face, are evident in some of our public discourse and cultural productions, which don’t get to make the big decisions.
Fossil fueled political madness and invective
The two guys depicted in the David Pope cartoon at the bottom, both work as insane political marketing operatives for foreign gas corporations. They are fossil fuel party-certified pretenders who somehow got selected and elected to be in charge of Australia, most likely by targeted corporate money and fossil-fuel media. For public and global safety, they need to be removed from public office, and they know it.
A climate emergency declaration bill was dismissed by the government in the lower house, with Angus Taylor declaring it to be “symbolic and impractical”. (The man with the gas mask). Isn’t nationalism an attempt to live up to our symbolism and our best self-image? No climate ambition, no symbolism, no progress. We won’t even need to be in a canter to meet our current target of zero new climate mitigation. Australian governments should now among the dirtiest words in the global climate world.
I hereby declare that Australia has a brain-dead “climate-inoperative” government. It has been climate brain-dead for more than 50 years. Our government isn’t even capable of symbolic climate action. It needs to be immediately evicted from office, as we are now officially in a national climate emergency. If China is listening, or reading this, could it please kidnap the entire Australian government now. I read this was done for Sri Lanka, a long time ago. It is easier to get a new government, once the dead-wood is gone. Come on, do Australian democracy a real favor. We are really sorry about how they have slighted the Chinese government about the origins of the Corona virus epidemic.
Whether or not the government of the day sees fit to acknowledge it, it is clear that enough Australian people have declared a climate emergency, including a record 400,000+ signatures petition, which represents a big effort. It is ignored by the brain-dead government. The LNP has been in power for majority of the last 5 decades by fossil-fuel industries. It is absolutely corrupted beyond recovery. The political attitude is fatalistic and climate-suicidal hopeless. This party cannot ever be expected to budge an inch in their abject servitude to foreign fossil fuel mining corporations.
A symbolism too far
‘Grand symbolic gesture’: Attempt to declare a climate emergency just failed in Parliament lower house. At least the Australian Labor Party tried to support it, but the ALP leader is also a lame climate duck.
A population too frightened
Many climate activists in Australia are too frightened to spell out the current implications of our state of global heating, in case it might frighten off the members of the public who just couldn’t be bothered with taking serious political action anyway. Or it might frighten the voters to vote liberal again, pulling their heads back under the blankets. Eighty percent of voters say they understand we have a climate problem. Not nearly enough of them seem to relate this to the political parties they vote for. Just to be sure, come election times, the global climate issue won’t get a serious mention in the leadership debates.
A politics too cowardly
Scott Morrison is Australia’s current prime minister, leading his party of money-religious-cultists who seem to be planning for our mass climate-suicide by gas. It is just for the money. The government is really all about marketing and symbolism, and they are flying the flag of global heating denial, fictional spending announcements. Meanwhile they work very hard to provide their parties fossil fuel mining investors with guaranteed incomes in the coming decades.
Unfortunately the cartoon at the bottom is a recent true depiction of our the current situation. NSW Liberal Party state government minister Matt Kean really does ask for climate sanity and an end to political partisan climate debate, and “good on him.”
The energy and environment minister warned that without driving the necessary transition, a transition that would create jobs and economic opportunity, Australia could “find ourselves on the wrong side of mega-trends like rising carbon-based protectionism while other economies steal our march in new clean technologies and industries”.
But this appeal by a state government minister is really only to the money side of things again. Global life systems barely merit a consideration, only in as much as their exploitation contributes to our “prosperity”. After all, he is on their side. That side are the people who expect to get more prosperity than anybody else.
The federal opposition party leader Anthony Albanese, despite supporting the climate emergency declaration, won’t commit his party to new emissions targets, not until after the next IPPC release. Nor does the public have any details about his actual understanding of how much of a climate emergency we are really in for now. Global life systems seem to barely merit a consideration.
Mr Albanese, as always, now sits back and allows the minority Greens to do the real political work. The ALP waits for the current government to get a global pelting with invective publicity at the next international climate meeting. The ALP fears being seen to take any “political risks” on climate and energy. The ALP team are climate cowards against the might of corporate international money launderers, and their donations, and are quaking in fear of the relentless Murdoch Media, which are totally fossil-fuel owned.
100% Renewable energy won’t be enough, even if we had it now
Even the most ambitious of global climate mitigation target announcements made so far, are insufficient responses to our global heating emergency. There is absolutely no danger of any nation doing too much global heating mitigation. Our predicament is that bad already.Targets are not needed. “Negative emissions” technologies are already required, since last IPCC report finally published in 2018, the work for which started around 2015. No need for the ALP to stand back doing nothing. Large scale reflective geo-engineering projects are already being proposed as a long term global survival necessity.