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Ignoring climate change: a race to the bottom?

The Sydney Morning Herald of 17 June reported on the 2014 NSW budget, the Environment Editor Peter Hannam writing that ‘two of the biggest environment issues – climate change and coal seam gas – are all but ignored in this year’s state budget with neither terms appearing in the 511-page Budget Estimates 2014-15 tome.  The omissions come despite Sydney being in the midst of its hottest 12 months in the past 155 years of records.  Much of the state’s north remains short of rainfall even as an El Nino forms in the Pacific, indicating the additional $13 million allocated in the budget for drought assistance may need topping up. This is another demonstration of what Graham Turner describes as ‘A race to the bottom?’:

‘In the light of all the evidence about the immense and immediate challenges we face—regarding both environmental/resource issues and social change — the rational course of action is to ‘prepare the lifeboats’; since attempting to change the global ship’s course is going to be too little too late. This means the narrative around national or global emergencies might best be directed to those in the community and public life who are willing to listen and to act on building self-reliance at local scales.’   This is Graham Turner’s conclusion In his chapter ‘A race to the bottom?’ in Douglas, B (ed) ‘Placing Global Change on the Australlian Election Agenda: Essays on vital issues that are being largely ignored’.

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