While the reaction domestically has been decidedly mixed, the overseas response to the carbon pricing package has been, from an Australian point of view, strangely positive. “Radical”, according to The Guardian. “Australia can have fits of enlightenment”, according to the Financial Times. “In a world sorely lacking for signs that political leaders are taking the threat of global warming seriously, it is big news – especially given the fact that Australia has the largest per-capita carbon footprint in the world….” said Rolling Stone.

This is, ultimately, the most important aspect of the Government’s carbon pricing scheme — showing the rest of the world that Australia takes climate change seriously enough to warrant major economic reform. That is the most important contribution that Australia can make to the push for an international agreement that will have a serious chance of curbing emissions growth and, therefore, the level of climate change that is going to damage the Australian economy.

As so many critics like to point out, Australia only contributes a tiny fraction to the world’s emissions, even if we’re one of the worst per-capita emitters.

But that’s all the more reason why we need to convince the rest of the world of the need to take concerted action. And the Labor-Greens-independents package does that.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey