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Climate change in Australia

One of the most interesting differences between the general public in the US and in Australia is the overall attitude toward climate change. I said I would talk a little bit about climate change in my last post, and how it’s featuring in this coming election.

First, one of the things Kevin Rudd did that may have helped to decrease his popularity with the public was to put aside plans for an Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Here in Australia, most people actually want the Government to do something about climate change because people are already noticing the effects of a changing climate down here. Perhaps the most notable sign has been the ongoing drought and the intense bush fires of late. When Kevin Rudd essentially said that he wasn’t going to do anything on climate change, people weren’t really that happy.

Interestingly, it seems that Julia Gillard may also be putting aside action on climate change. Surely there are lots of political reasons why she’s making this decision, but often politicians claim that it doesn’t make sense for Australia to do anything if China and the US aren’t committed to taking action.

Whether or not that is true, it seems that a majority of the public still do want the Australian Government to move on climate change. Tony Abbott, the opposition leader, is at the very least skeptical about climate change. It’s a little strange that Julia Gillard and Labor seempoised not to present a plan on climate change, because it seems to be giving voters relatively little to choose between. While this may seem normal in another country, most people here actually do want action on climate change. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see whether this becomes a major issue in next month’s election…


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