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Imagine 1 kilometer of atmosphere, and we want to get rid of the carbon pollution in it created by human activity. Let's go for a walk along it.
The first 770 metres are Nitrogen. The next 210 meters are Oxygen. That's 980 metres of the 1 kilometer.
20 metres to go.
The next 10 metres are water vapour.
10 metres left.
9 meters are argon.
Just 1 more meter. A few gases make up the first bit of that last meter.
The last 38 centimeters of the kilometer - that's carbon dioxide...or a bit over a foot.
97% of that is produced by Mother Nature. It’s natural.
Out of our journey of one kilometre, there are just 12 millimeters left. Just over a centimeter - or about half an inch. That’s the amount of carbon dioxide that global human activity puts into the atmosphere.
And of those 12 millimetres Australia puts in 0.18 of a millimeter. Less than the thickness of a hair. Out of a kilometre!
As a hair is to a kilometre - so is Australia's contribution to what Julia Gillard calls Carbon Pollution.
Imagine Brisbane's new Gateway Bridge, ready to be opened by Julia Gillard. It's been polished, painted and scrubbed by an army of workers till its 1 kilometre length is surgically clean. Except that Julia Gillard says we have a huge problem, the bridge is polluted - there's a human hair on the roadway. We'd laugh ourselves silly.
There are plenty of real pollution problems to worry about. It's hard to imagine that Australia's contribution to carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere is one of the more pressing ones. And I can't believe that a new tax on everything is the only way to blow that pesky hair away.