This is a formidable challenge. As Jim Hansen and others have repeatedly highlighted, special interests and the money they bring into the political processes in the USA, Australia and elsewhere poison the system by promoting bogus science as equivalent arguments against the need for action. This Swill, baby, Swill!! tends to confuse / intentionally(?) misinform the public and thereby maintains a business as usual scenario.
To a somewhat lesser degree, close-minded, self proclaimed environmentalists (some with advanced degrees, but far from the subject matter at hand and/or with very little relevant/practical experience beyond their academic world) spread nuclear scepticism by significantly exaggerating risks, promoting fear (Spill, baby, Spill!! Kill!!, baby, Kill!!) and thereby limit a credible option within Australia and elsewhere by campaigning against nuclear energy and/or uranium mining—Mill, baby, Mill!!
Hence, the effort to inform and ignite a spirit of change has fallen upon what is mostly a small band of volunteers—an informal group loosely bound by some common concerns or goals such as the salvation of life on the planet, recognition of nuclear energy’s role in global energy production, or general support of fossil free energy sources for the sake of energy security. How can this group hope to effectively battle well financed, professional (Skill, baby, Skill!!) communication/marketing/PR companies?
And then there’s the global financial crisis, topped by an increasing trend of severe (i.e. costly) weather events in recent years. Adding misery to disaster, we are told that the longer action is delayed, the more difficult it will become to pull ourselves out of the hole. Our plant is Ill, baby, Ill!!, with serious threats that could take life here to Nil, baby, Nil!! as the Earth turns into a giant Grill, baby, Grill!!
The most reasonable approach is to adopt a carbon fee and dividend scheme as promoted by Hansen and others. In such a scheme, a steadily increasing fee is applied to all fossil fuels at the wellhead, mine or port of entry. Then all money is returned to citizens as a dividend in equal shares for adults with ½ shares given to children—up to a maximum of 2 children per household.
The fee and dividend approach would immediately reward those who consume less energy (equal money, for less use/expense), reward businesses that improve energy efficiency, encourage innovative business practices such as teleconferencing in lieu of travel, encourage the use of no/low emission transport, and stabilise the energy market; thereby facilitating the significant investments necessary to transition energy production away from carbon emitting technologies. (Thrill, baby, Thrill!!)
Cap & trade on the other hand is a demonstrated failure in Europe, pumps money to financial institutions (Fill, baby, Fill!! their pockets) who serve as middlemen in the emissions credit trading game, awards free credits to the worst polluters, and provides no direct rewards to those who put in the effort to minimize their emissions as costs increase for all, regardless of personal choices.
Significant involvement from the public is required to make this happen. Get moving, write, take the action you want to see from others. Lead by example. Let your representatives know that an ongoing Drill, baby, Drill!! mentality is going to Kill, baby, Kill!! our planet.
Fossil fuels must be left in the ground, in particular dirty, dangerous coal. We’ve got to get our CO2 concentration to below 350 so the Earth can Chill, baby, Chill!!
And this is in addition to the other risks posed by the ongoing quest for fuel. No special interest influence there, eh...