Carbon pricing and politics – look forwards, not backwards

I’ve looked at both sides of the climate change argument, for a long time – and this is the way I see it.

I don’t believe the skeptics. I don’t believe those that use politics to take the easy, hysterical, popular road.

I believe climate change threatens the future of my country and the world I live in. While I have no doubt the planet is going through a normal cycle of climate change, I also believe the science that proves that mankind is in the process ruining this planet. This threatens my children, and my children’s children. I believe climate change threatens the working lives and living conditions of everyone on this planet. After looking at both sides of the argument, this is my view.

It’s easy not to believe in man’s effects on this planet. To believe we are having a serious negative impact is scary. To do nothing is much easier. To believe is scary. To actually make change is difficult.

Like anything that is hard, and requires change, we can only take responsibility for ourselves. Even if by doing the right thing makes no difference until others around the world make the necessary changes, doing nothing is not an option.

I respect people in this world that step up and have a go, and do what they think is right, even if it is unpopular, even if it is difficult. I respect people in the political world who will stand up and do what we elect them to do, not to do what is popular even if it is wrong.

The ALP could not have been any more open about the fact they want, and indeed intended to have, a carbon trading scheme. I believe we need a carbon trading scheme. The current scheme is a step towards that. The fact that the ALP have to deal with the minor parties in a hung parliament is a reality, and the fact that they need to make concessions to do that is also a necessity. Is that going back on a promise – I don’t care. I want them to do the right thing, and I am hoping this is the road to get there.

Will paying more for electricity, and paying more for the energy I use hurt me financially? Yes it will. Does that make it wrong? Well no, not necessarily. It will change my behaviors, and I can tell you, I probably need that. I think everyone around me falls into that category. Australians are the biggest polluters per capita in the developed world. What gives us that right? It’s reprehensible, and begs the question as to why we shouldn’t be changing our ways. If I need to pay my way to do the right thing, I’m happy with that.

We are a rich country by comparison to our neighbors. I think we need to start acting like mature members of the community, instead of whining like sooks everytime our Govt makes decisions which threaten our TV and computer use.

When petrol goes up, we all cry foul, because we really need our car to drive on the freeway, right next to that other person in the car on the same freeway, going to the same place, who also has one person in the car.

And those that are doing it genuinely tough, who will be really affected by price hikes, they should be compensated, fair enough, full support. These are the people that need looking after, and dialogue rightfully exists around those questions.

But please let’s not react to the those people who spend their lives bleating about how poor they are, all the while, paying $100/w for smokes and $150/w on grog, and all have ipods, new cars and new golf clubs. The same people that jump on shock jock radio and spew venom along with the pied pipers that fuel these freak shows, joining the chorus of those calling for civil uprisings, screaming at those commie socialists daring to threaten their right to cheeseburgers and guns. Give me a break.

I’m all for fighting to improve the wages and conditions of not only firefighters, but for all Australians. But sometimes we need to stop complaining about taking responsibility as citizens of this planet, and accept that we may have to pay for the actions of our existence, and indeed our technological advances, over the last few hundred years, and that this may actually further our interests and the interests of our families.

And while we attack Govt for daring to charge large polluters in an effort to reduce our carbon use, why don’t we ask why they need to pass on those costs at all – what? $100 billion profit not enough for big business- who’s the enemy here?

We get so hung up with fear politics here, and it’s getting worse….

Where do the Conservatives/Coalition stand now on Climate Change, and the debate? I’m buggered if I know, because they oppose everything, tap into popular ebbs and flows, and stand for nothing as far as I can see. They don’t debate, they oppose. They’ve painted themselves into a corner. Even their counterparts around the world disagree with them. Abbott and Co will be exposed over time as the out dated, old fashioned, ill informed crew of scare mongers….

Tony Abbott is in the middle of the longest tantrum in Australia’s political history, and his stocks will shrink sooner or later. For my kids sake, I hope so.

At least Labor have the courtesy of telling me where they stand, and the common decency to tell us if they’ve changed tact and why. At least they have a position.

That’s how I see it… point of view on this topic after looking at all sides of the argument for many years.

And for the record – I don not belong to a political party.



About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.

2 Comments on Carbon pricing and politics – look forwards, not backwards

  1. Well presented Sully. If you do or don't believe climate change, you can't deny polluting is bad for us and the environment, and I see that this policy should be the start of a push to lower pollution levels and begin a new era of investment in Solar, Geo Thermal, Wind, Tidal, etc energy sources that will at least provide new employment opportunities and a cleaner air to breathe.Dave Hunt


  2. Thanks Davo, good call…


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