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Australia re-elected center-right Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the weekend, who pulled off a “miracle” thanks to a big turnout from his base of older, suburban economic conservatives and of supporters in Queensland, which is the coal-producing, sparsely populated regionof the country. This happened despite the fact that Australia just experienced its hottest summer on record, with major fish die-offs as the country’s rivers run dry, and the Great Barrier Reef, one of the country’s most iconic and popular destinations, is experiencing a record coral bleaching event from which many believe it will never recover.
The real killer for the Labor Party was an economic analysis that came out at the beginning of May, in the final days of the campaign, that argued that Labor’s emissions reduction target according could wipe $264 billion from the Australian economy and kill-off 167,000 jobs.
According to the Times, election observers believed that Australian populism fueled the victory, and the “weakening of the major parties and the country’s tilt to the right have been driven mainly by class envy and alienation, including the belief that the elite do not understand the needs and values of the working class.”
Why This Matters: Australian voters rejected the Labor Party’s climate change policies, despite some big wins casting out some high profile climate deniers from their legislature. The New York Times reported that the incumbent Prime Minister was returned to office despite the fact that he has “long resisted plans to sharply cut down on carbon emissions and coal.” So Australia, much like the Trump Administration, will pursue policies that in fact prop up mining in Australia, particularly the proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, which would be among the largest in the world if it is approved. And this should be seen as a warning for the U.S. and other upcoming elections that climate change as an issue can drive high turnout from those who feel alienated by the movement or by those who believe that fighting climate will result in a loss of jobs. We must reach those voters and try to appeal to them – we can’t write them off.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Earlier this month, devastating floods washed through western Germany, leaving people dead and swaths of cities destroyed. It was the worst flooding Central Europe has seen in decades, and the short, intense rainfall is “one of the hallmark manifestations of a human-warmed climate,” as Yale Climate Connections put it. […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Carbon border taxes are gaining popularity in North America and Europe, but many are skeptical that taxing imports from countries with weak emissions policies will encourage climate action. Others are calling border taxes unjust. John Kerry, the U.S. Climate Envoy, called border tax policies a “last resort.” Nevertheless, Congressional Democrats have already proposed one […]
While those of us in the conservation community believe every week should be shark week, this one in particular marks the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. Each year brings jaw-some programming that allows audiences to learn more about these incredible animals that play a pivotal role in keeping our oceans healthy, often with celebrities partaking […]
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