It's been an extraordinary week for Queensland. Last Wednesday, the Maroons won the State of Origin for the sixth consecutive year, and on Saturday the Queensland Reds beat the Crusaders from Christchurch to win the Super 15 rugby.
Then yesterday, Julia Gillard's government finally announced details of its proposed carbon pricing scheme to be introduced in July 2012. The impact of this measure on Queensland's heavily coal-dependent economy has been debated long and hard in the run-up to the announcement and will doubtless continue.
Australia has the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world. Following years of augmenting the nation's carbon footprint willy nilly, industry and individual citizens alike must apply the brakes before rapidly reversing the trend. Enormous sacrifices have to be made: it will not, at this point in emissions history, be a painless process. Australians cannot continue to live their extravagantly energy-hungry lives; the obsession with economic growth must be exorcised and the idea of 'wealth' redefined; and the nation must act upon the advice of experts, who may not be saying what anyone wants to hear but are urging what everyone must do, even the ostriches.
The other week, I would have laughed had it not been so galling when a chap phoned in to local talkback radio and declared that he was was not going to pay a carbon tax 'because I've got no carbon in my house'. Since then, I've often had to turn off the radio because I could no longer bear to listen to the ignorance pontificated about global warming, carbon emissions and what should be done about them. A large fat nothing is what many people are prepared to do about it if it's going to hurt their pocket or their feel-good factor.
There are some industry leaders in Australia who fully realise what is required of them and are preparing for a very different future, economically and meteorologically – www.csiro.au/science/adapting-mining-climate-change.html.
And a growing number of Australian women are just quietly getting on with it in their homes, supermarkets and local communities – www.1millionwomen.com.au.
I can forgive people for not fully understanding the science, although, if they have internet, there's little excuse for not trying – www.bom.gov.au/climate/change, which includes links to other, much more detailed information sources.
If anyone is in any doubt about the poor quality of political debate in the Australian media, they should read Lindsay Tanner's book Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy before finding out the facts for themselves rather than depending on the largely inadequate reportage of the climate debate and the need for action.
To determine what the government actually proposes under its carbon pricing scheme, go towww.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au.
And get on with it. Read all about it, now.