Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Climate sensitivity over jobs shows double-standard

Two letter-writers in yesterday's edition of The Age wrote about the "invisibility" of workers affected by a carbon price, despite many projections - including by the ACTU - of projected gains in green jobs in the shift to a low-emissions economy.

Today's edition carries my letter in reply, which questions why those opposing a carbon price are so concerned about selective estimates of job losses claimed as likely to result from action on climate, while they are less so to the business-as-usual job losses in the marketplace in pursuit of "efficiencies" and profit. Here's the unedited version:
It is unrealistic to suggest that the transition to a low-emissions economy will be without disruptions that will certainly impact on individuals and families. That's why a principled approach to implementing an environmentally necessary carbon price must take care of those in our communities who will be most affected - workers in the Latrobe Valley, but also in other areas where employment is currently carbon-intensive.

What Damien Cremean and Ben Dziekan fail to acknowledge is that we are routinely impacted by large-scale job losses through the quest of powerful corporates for cost-cutting and market efficiencies that in general have no climate benefits as their goal. It is perverse that many of those corporations, including the big polluters, now project undoubtedly exaggerated job losses from a carbon tax when their usual approach is to strive to cut their workforce to the bone.

Those who will be affected by job losses through pricing carbon should never be "invisible" as these writers claim, but the right to fair compensation would never be denied by the highly visible thousands who demonstrated for a strong carbon price on Sunday. We also know that if we do not act on climate the impacts will be felt by billions.
 Comments welcome.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Say Yes Australia draws big Melbourne crowd

Today more than 10,000 people gathered in Melbourne - and more than 45,000 nationally - to support a strong price on carbon to help tackle climate change at the Say Yes Australia National Day of Climate Action.

Here Don Henry, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, makes the case for saying yes to a strong price on carbon.

A great campaign, and a great turn-out, but more needs to be done to define what "strong" means. If it means setting a price, and ultimately emissions targets, that agree with what the science says needs to be done to achieve a safe climate, then I support the campaign wholeheartedly.

The coalition of community groups involved in the campaign need to ensure that saying yes isn't simply construed as saying yes to the inadequate pro-polluter action currently proposed by the Gillard Government, most recently seen in a group hug with industry at the Minerals Council dinner last week.

We need to say yes to something that counts. That said, today was a wonderful show of support for effective action on climate, and I applaud everyone who had a role in organising it. Well done!

This film was not made in association with the Say Yes Australia Campaign.