A right-wing government budget that plans to all but eliminate climate change research and renewable energy and dump that money into subsidies for Big Energy? America isn't the only country with anti-science conservatives beholden to coal, oil, and natural gas. Our friends in Australia have taken a sharp right turn since the government of PM Tony Abbott came to power, and now they're paying the price.
Tony Abbott is the true "inter-generational thief" for boosting fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy, increasing the likelihood of Australians paying a big price from climate change, Greens leader Christine Milne said.
Both the Prime Minister and Treasurer Joe Hockey have based their budget sales pitch on the need to raise taxes and slash spending to rein-in future debt that had been projected to balloon above $600 billion without policy changes.
"We could not go on running up massive debts for our children and grandchildren to pay," Mr Abbott told ABC's Insiders on Sunday. "That would be a form of inter-generational theft."
Senator Milne, though, said the increases in subsidies for big miners – which rise by $720 million to almost $14 billion over the forward estimates – and efforts to promote more coal seam gas, coal mines and coal ports were the real form of "future theft".
"Not only is it bad for the environment but these will be stranded assets which the next generation will have to pay for," Senator Milne told media in Sydney. "Tony Abbott is the one selling-out future generations."
The budget is extremely unpopular, with nearly three-quarters of Australians saying they would be worse off, and it seems the voters may be ready to do something about Abbott.
The Greens would welcome a double dissolution election, if the Coalition called one.
"I say bring that on," Senator Milne said. "The Australian community has been betrayed by the Prime Minister. Nobody signed up for this budget. Nobody knew who the PM was before the election.
"People are well and truly ready to show him what a trust deficit looks like."
Will the Abbott government come apart over climate change denial? If there's any country that is dealing with major effects of climate, it's Australia. Stay tuned...