Thank you SMcK.
“Attention, students. Because so many of you missed Friday’s classes, what with your little climate party and all, today I’m assigning extra work.
Let’s begin with mathematics. 558,400,000 is a really big number. Can anyone here tell me what it might represent? No?
Well, that’s the amount in tonnes of carbon dioxide that Australia emitted last year.
I’ll just pause here for a minute until Samantha stops crying. By the way, Samantha, your sign at the climate rally needed a possessive apostrophe and “planet” was spelt incorrectly, so I’m putting you back in remedial English again.
Where were we? Oh, yes. 558,400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Let’s see how we can reduce that number. Ban coal mining? That’ll knock off a big chunk.
Ban petrol-powered vehicles? Good call. That’s another slab of emissions gone.
Does the class believe we should ban all mining? You do. Interesting. For your homework tonight, I want you all to design batteries that contain no nickel or cadmium.
Good luck getting to school in electric cars without those.
And there’ll be no more steel wind turbines once the iron ore mines are closed. It’s just the price we’ll have to pay, I suppose.
Even with all those bans, however, Australia will still be churning out carbon dioxide by the magical solar-powered truckload. Cuts need to go much further.
More people means more human activity which means more carbon dioxide, so let’s permanently ban immigration. Is the class agreed?
Hmmm. You’re not quite so enthusiastic about that one. Come on, students. Sacrifices must be made.
Speaking of which, how many of you have grandparents? Not any more you don’t.
And Samantha is crying again. Can someone please take her to the school safe space and let her “process some emotions”, or whatever the hell it is you kids do in there? Thank you.
Sing along with Kim Carnes: “All the world knows of her charms/She’s got/Stop Adani arms”
Who agrees we need to simplify our lives in order to reduce emissions? Returning to earlier times, when emissions were much lower, might help save our earth.
So goodbye to air travel, the internet and your cell phones. People got by without them in the past and they’ll survive without them in our sustainable future.
Still, those emissions will be way too high. Just for fun, let’s ban Australia and see what happens.
All factories, houses, streets, farms – gone. All people gone. Every atom of human presence on this land mass, completely erased.
At that point we’ll have finally cut our emissions to nothing. We’ve subtracted an annual 558,400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Congratulations, children. By eliminating Australia, you’ve just reduced the world’s yearly generation of carbon dioxide from 37,100,000,000 tonnes to just … 36,541,600,000 tonnes.
Still, every tiny reduction helps, right? Maybe not. Let’s have a quick geography lesson. Tyler, please point out China on this map. No; that’s Luxembourg. China is a bit bigger. Try over here. There you go.
Here’s the thing about China. How long will it take for China to produce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that we’ve slashed by vanishing Australia? One year? Two years? Five years?
Not quite. Start the carbon dioxide clock on China right now, and that one enormous nation will have matched our annual output in 20 days, for China adds a whole Australia to the global emissions total in that time.
For that matter, China will have added another 1,190,953 tonnes by the end of this one-hour class.
Even a tiny increase in China’s output puts Australia in the shade. Various experts last year estimated that China was on course for a five per cent carbon dioxide boost.
This would mean an extra 521,637,550 tonnes – or basically what Australia generates. Our total is the same as China’s gentle upswing.
So maybe your protest was in the wrong country. Here’s another assignment: write letters to the Chinese government demanding it stops dragging people out of poverty.
Make sure you include your full name and address, because the Chinese government is kind of big on keeping records. Send a photograph of yourself standing in front of your parents’ house.
You might repeat this process in India. In fact, rather than going to Europe for your next big family holiday, prevail upon your parents to visit India instead. The tiny village of Salaidih would be the perfect place to tell slum-dwelling residents they shouldn’t have electricity.
They’ll probably thank you for it. Or they should, if they aren’t stupid climate deniers. Indian paupers must avoid making the same tragic affluence mistakes as us, so we must keep their carbon footprints as tiny as possible.
Can you imagine how terrible is would be for the earth if all of India’s one billion-plus population owned cars and air-conditioners? It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
One further assignment: tonight, locate a clean, green alternative source for $66 billion in exports. That’s how much was raised last year by the Australian coal industry.
Working it out won’t be too much of a challenge, I’m sure. After all, you know science and stuff. About half of your signs on Friday claimed you know more about all these things than does the Prime Minister.
Show him how advanced your brains are by devising a brand-new multi-billion export bonanza.
Hey, look who’s back! Feeling better, Samantha? That’s nice. Feelings are the most important thing of all.”