The deal the Greens and the Labor party under Julia Gillard have struck to introduce a carbon tax is probably the best that could be expected from our liberal democracy at this time.
It is also grossly inadequate.
Australia’s contribution to reducing carbon emissions under this scheme, if emulated around the globe, puts the world on course to experience warming of four degrees or more.
It is not feasible to completely de-link economic growth and carbon emission . Achieving the reductions in carbon emissions required to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees would require us to move away from a model of economic organisation predicated in continual growth.
But growth is fundamental to capitalism; capitalism cannot be restructured to operate as a steady state.
“Prosperity without growth” cannot simply be imposed upon capitalism with regulation or taxation.
The conclusion I draw from climate debate in Australia, from the actions of our government, and from the broad resistance to action from the business community, is that real action on climate change cannot be achieved within the current parameters of our liberal democracy.
The inadequacy and inherent unfairness of the carbon tax approach adopted by Julia Gillard, Labor and the Greens is more evidence that real action on climate change requires that we organise against capitalism.
I’ve wanted to write a LOT more on this topic, but the day to day struggle to survive keeps getting in the way.