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Sierra Daily

Nov 13, 2013

Australia and Canada, Climate Thugs

MountieIt wasn't very long ago that Canada and Australia were benign figures on the world stage. Canada had a sterling environmental reputation and a leading role in providing aid for the developing world. “I believe the world needs more Canada,” said U2 rocker Bono back in 2003. And only two years ago, Australia passed a historic carbon tax.

That was then. Now, Australia’s new prime minister, Tony Abbott, is pushing for a repeal of the carbon tax, and a host of new coal mines in the Galilee Basin may become the seventh larger carbon emitter in the world, right behind Germany. And Canada, reports The Guardian, now “discourages other industrialised nations from following through on their own climate change commitments.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper “withdrew from the Kyoto protocol on climate change in 2011and Canada has failed to meet its own international [target] to cut greenhouse gas emissions--almost entirely because of its mining of the carbon-heavy Alberta tar sands."  

In a kind of retrograde Anglophone solidarity, Harper also praised Abbot for his efforts to repeal Australia’s carbon tax: “The Australian prime minister’s decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message.”

And while the Philippine delegate to the United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw was making a dramatic appeal to the nations of the world to “prevent a future where super typhoons become a way of life,” Australia backed out of its previous pledge to help developing nations cope with climate change, calling it “socialism masquerading as environmentalism.” This earned it a “big smile” from Fox News host Stuart Varney: 

 

The scenes of devastation in the Philippines scrolling by in the background are a particularly nice touch. 

PAUL RAUBER is a senior editor at Sierra. He is the author, with Carl Pope, of the happily outdatedStrategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress.Otherwise he is a cyclist, cook, and father of two. Follow him on Twitter @paulrauber

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