Tag Archives: Malcolm Turnbull

Screw Malcolm Turnbull

Just Wanted To Share This Quickly
Helen Razer’s writing behind the pay wall for Crikey but had an awesome column today. I just want to copy out a couple of paragraphs and share it with you all.

On Monday, Crikey’s Bernard Keane analysed recent findings of the Essential Report on preferred political leaders. If we don’t count the very popular “someone else” choice as prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull is the resolute fan favourite. He’s really not a bogan.

The man who likely gainsaid his own green credentials in a Solomon Islands logging deal and put an end to the great infrastructure build of the NBN is beloved by Green and ALP voters. In an era of “check your privilege,” it seems that the dapper Turnbull is far too well-groomed to be required to check his. While it is true that he chooses to accessorise with a few neutral items from a progressive grab-bag like the Republic and same-sex marriage, it is not true that he is a minister who gives half an apparent shit for making his portfolio work in the lives of non-corporate Australians. Let’s set aside for the moment the sheer financial irresponsibility of a man whose policies will doom us to the expensive maintenance of copper wire and prevent a nation in industrial freefall from learning from the South Korean national program, and just think about the NBN in the most basic progressive terms. This guy wants you to pay for a good road to your door.

Somehow, though, the silver fox is largely seen by progressives as a viable alternative to Abbott. This is despite the fact that he can claim no real ideological distinction and, in fact, should really — given that he “invented” the internet in Australia — should and does know better about the economic and social value of the abandoned NBN.
What Greens voters are thinking is largely beyond me. As a progressive voter, I would certainly nominate Senator Cory Bernardi as my preferred Coalition leader. That guy, in advertising the contents of the stinking box, makes the buggers far less electable. But, in the eagerness progressive voters have to distance themselves from the “bogan”, they are happy to embrace the ruling class.

She’s quite right. the progressives are kidding themselves if they think Malcolm Turnbull is somehow going to save the day. It would be much wiser to proceed on the assumption that he won’t be much help at all. In fact, he’s already out there quite vocally saying he supports Tony, he doesn’t have any ambition to destablise Abbott, and that he wants to help sell this crappy-piece-of-shit (my adjective) budget. And so it should be repeated quite loudly – support for Malcolm Turnbull is giving into one’s own snobbery. So screw that thought with a big stick and get on with the real project of ousting the CONservatives.

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We Live In Messy Times

The Mess Age

Years ago, when I was in a band called… okay I’ll just call them ‘Mess Age’ for now. In Mess Age was the lead singer who was a long-suffering person with LSD – Lead Singer Disease of the Ego – and during the 196 election he quipped that if he ever won the election he’d nationalise everything and bunker up in Parliament, surrounded by the army. When I pressed him on why he thought nationalising everything would be a goo idea, he said he didn’t really know but it was the sort of thing Hitler might have done. When I asked him if he aspired to being like Hitler, he said, “not the killing Jews bit, but nationalising everything would make society equally unfair.”

Now, I’m not a communist nor a Stalinist, but I found it interesting that he thought true equality entailed being equally unfair on everybody. And the ramification was that people would hate him and so he would probably have to go to Martial Law and bunker up in Parliament House. It’s a peculiar vision from a peculiar person, but I’m sharing it with you now because it seems oddly relevant.

If you come to power and forcefully enact a raft of policies that are deeply unpopular, you can expect the peasants to revolt, so you may even have to mobilise the army for Martial Law. Tony Abbott isn’t exactly nationalising everything, but he’s ripping whole planks of our social contract to shreds. He can legitimately look forward to people coming together forming unlikely alliances to confront him. In the same sense, if it should go to a Dismissal, he may actually be the sort of person lacking in common sense that would mobilise the army against its own citizenry.

The Price Is Wrong

I know I write about education a lot but with each passing day I have yet another reason why the current budget is wronger than wrongness itself when it comes to education. The Coalition is trying to put in a $7 co-payment for every GP visit. This is a deliberate plan to put in a disincentive for people going to the doctor. If $7 is supposed to deter you form the doctor, then presumably $20,000 is supposed to deter you from your education. It strikes me that a government that could do with more knowledge workers want to put in even bigger disincentives for education than already exists. The world is only going to get even more technologically demanding, be more in need of scientific rigour, in need of wider understanding of our humanities; none of these demands upon people is going to be less in the future. Why in God’s name would you be erecting serious barriers for getting an education?

The downside of such policies beyond the evils of inequality and locking in privileges for the rich is that through the lack of mobility in such a society, our academies will genuinely wilt in quality and output. For all this talk of competition, it is in fact diminishing genuine competition for the best minds. I’m certainly no friend of the sandstone monstrosities we love to hold up as our glorious universities, but I have to say our lives and future would be much worse if their doors narrowed so that only the rich can get in. Unless we want to be like a third world nation, it’s really not an option that should be countenanced by a major party – even a seemingly brain dead conservative one.

But Who Can Take Over?
Yes, that is the question as Dear Leader Tony Abbott continues in his unsustainably unpopular ways; it’s almost like a bad parody of Julia Gillard’s time as  Prime Minister. At approval ratings of 30%, L’Abbottoir is hitting the same kind of nadir as Julia Gillard. Naturally we must ask ourselves whether this is Malcolm Turnbull’s Kev-Return moment. If one were a tea-leaves reading prognosticator, one might be persuaded that there was a game afoot, but seeing that these are conservatives, it is against their very nature to rock the boat in government. It was certainly the case with Peter Costello who mumbled complaints about not getting a go as PM, all the way to a quick retirement from Federal politics. These conservatives just don’t do spills with the exhibitionistic fancy-pizazz of the ALP or an award night for porn stars.

The other candidates that might or could replace Tony Abbott are actually not that inspiring. You can count Joe Hockey out for he too is tainted by this lousy budget. Julie Bishop inspires no hope (which makes her hope-less by definition). Morrison, Pyne and Hunt simply won’t do because they’re the faces fronting for divisive policies, while Kevin Andrews is too inane. So that leaves Malcolm Turnbull once again but you can sort of see the right wing hard cases squirming in their seats at the thought of the member for Wentworth lording it all over them again. In other words, they’re talentless as well as gormless.

Thus we may yet be stuck with Tony Abbott thanks to a spineless clueless Liberal Party room. They may therefore stick with this lousy excuse for a budget, much of which likely won’t pass this Senate or the next, thanks to its enduring intrinsic lousiness. They might find themselves backed into a double dissolution even without Governor General Peter Cosgrove having to sack Tony Abbott (although that remains a fat juicy fantasy shared by many bloody-minded observers). We can only hope and dream.



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Compensation For Carbon Price

This Is Going To Get Interesting

Less than 5months from now, the Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate and not surprisingly they will be pushing politics to the left by a long way. This might be a good thing given how far to the right things swung under John Howard. Some Gen-Y kids are going to be in for a surprise. Besides which, the Greens aren’t green through and through, they’re more watermelon-like: green on the outside, red on the inside.

That being the case, the Greens are already shooting down calls for a compensation package for there being a carbon price.

As chief executives from some of the nation’s biggest companies attended climate change talks in Sydney yesterday, the Greens highlighted the fraught political landscape confronting the government’s push for a carbon price.

After the Herald revealed growing unease among business leaders over the government’s negotiations with the Greens, the party’s leader, Bob Brown, vowed to challenge the resources industry in its campaign for compensation.

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Senator Brown accused Rio Tinto of trying to ”gouge” public money after this week unveiling a record profit of $US14 billion.

Rio Tinto, which owns half the country’s aluminium smelters, is understood to be lobbying to ensure it is protected against higher electricity prices.

But Senator Brown said he would ”take on” Rio, which he said would have pocketed $565 million a year under the abandoned carbon pollution reduction scheme. The Greens blocked that scheme, claiming that the compensation it offered to trade-exposed sectors and the power industry was excessive.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, was co-chairman yesterday of the meeting of executives from companies including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, NAB, Woolworths, Qantas and Origin Energy.

It is understood most of the executives agreed a carbon price was inevitable, but stressed the need to avoid ”unintended consequences” for the economy. One said trade-exposed companies including BHP and Rio Tinto appeared ”nervous”, and were the most vocal in explaining their situation to the government.

I guess the mining business headed up by such hard-done-by types like Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and Gina Reinhardt are going to take to the hustings (or the back of flatbed trucks) and spend scores of millions to discredit a government trying to do something to address the fact that there needs to be a carbon price. I’m even guessing that the same bunch think that they can roll the Labor government if they can get to the two independents, Windsor and Oakeshott but there’s every chance they can’t. Let’s face it, Windsor and Oakeshott were up to taking the punishing, bullying pressure from Tony Abbott. If the corporate world start launching ads attacking these men, they’re more than likely going to push them away; not turn them so they join Tony Abbott.

The uncomfortable truth is that the Senate with the Greens holding power is going to be much, much more progressive than the old Senate so any number of these deals such as the revised Mining Rent Resource Tax and Carbon Pricing are going to be harder to negotiate. It’s clear Bob Brown is spoiling for a fight, and he’s got his numbers down.

All this is to say once again what a colossal fuck up the move against the ETS and Malcolm Turnbull was, and because of that move the corporate sector is going to pay a heavier toll than if the Coalition had let the Emissions Trading Scheme get up. The boot’s going to be on the other foot come 1st of July.

And Just Why Should They Get Any Compensation?

This is the crux of the Greens’ position. The reason a carbon price is being discussed is to create a deterrent for wanton emissions, as well as build a fund to combat the effects of climate change. The Corporate sector says they’re only part of the problem, and ask why must they pay first before the private citizens? The answer to that is that they can always pass on the cost to the consumer, and therefore the punter is going to get hit with the carbon price; but also the notion that the government should compensate these polluting businesses for the losses they make when they have to factor in a carbon price is just another way for these firms to try and socialise the losses, just as they seek to continue privatsing the profits by avoiding the mining super-tax.

There’s really not much more to it than that, so you can easily expect the Greens to ask, why should the tax payer fund any compensation for any of the polluting activity that these companies engage in and contribute to? They’ve been getting a free ride to date but the free ride is over. There is no reasonable argument to give compensation to freeloaders who suddenly must pay their way. Certainly it’s the exact same argument they mount when they attack the welfare system and dole bludgers (do such entities exist any more?).

They can surely cop their own medicine. There shouldn’t be any compensation at all.

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Turnbull Changes His Mind

Double Take On The Back Flip

Malcolm Turnbull has decided to run again.

Disappointment among constituents in Mr Turnbull’s seat is one of the main reasons the former opposition leader has decided to stay in politics, the Liberal Party says.

‘‘I think there was an overwhelming sense of disappointment in the community when Malcolm announced he was stepping down,’’ NSW Liberal communications director Wendy Black said.

‘‘I think in some respects he was a little surprised how overwhelming the support was.

‘‘He’s also just had two weeks overseas, he’s been in Gallipoli and got back on Thursday.

‘‘I think the time to reflect there and the reaction from the community has persuaded him to change his mind.’’

I hate being wrong. 🙂 But what can you do? He’s changed his fricken mind. A man is allowed to change his mind on something as important as his career.

More seriously, it seems Malcolm Turnbull will fight on, which suggests the Lawyers Wives set in the Eastern Suburbs think there should be a ETS and an ETS that the Coalition would at least set the terms for, at that. I also imagine the Lawyers Wives set have no faith whatsoever in Tony the Jesuit Abbott or the North Shore boofhead Joe Hockey. It’s interesting how contempt and success work their way in our society.

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Malcolm Turnbull Quits Politics

I Love Being Right (As In Correct, Not Political Persuasion)

Malcolm Turnbull is quitting politics at the next election.

Talking to the Herald after announcing he would end his six-year ”wild ride” of a political career and step down at the election, Mr Turnbull said there was no option but to put a price on carbon.

”The reality is if you want to efficiently and effectively cut emissions, you’ve got to do so with a market mechanism and that’s what an ETS is,” he said.

Mr Turnbull will stay in his seat until the election, after which he plans to invest in start-up Australian technology, including the green energy sector.

”Some people don’t like a venture capital investment because it’s risky. I’ve always enjoyed that and that’s the area I imagine we will be focused on.”

The multi-millionaire’s resignation sparked a preselection stampede for his eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth with 10 Liberal names in the mix yesterday.

These included John Howard’s former chief of staff, Arthur Sinodinos; the executive director of the Menzies Research Centre, Julia Leeser; and Gabrielle Upton and Peter Doyle, both of whom are in the running for the state seat of Vaucluse.

The seat, a crucial marginal which Mr Turnbull holds by only 3.9 per cent, is now firmly in Labor’s sights.

The Sydney lawyer Stephen Lewis is the only firm starter for Labor preselection thus far.

Mr Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott by one vote in December because of his support for an emissions trading scheme. He made no apology for putting principle before politics.

”I remain absolutely convinced that it is in Australia’s interest to start cutting emissions now and to do so by means of a market-based mechanism,” he said.

Mr Turnbull, who was overlooked two weeks ago when Mr Abbott reshuffled his frontbench, made the final decision to quit during the Easter break.

He said his two main regrets were losing the leadership and trusting the Treasury official Godwin Grech over the OzCar affair.

”I regret having made criticisms of the Prime Minister based on the email that Grech created.”

Oh well. There’s also this bit of analysis:

So how could it have gone so badly for him? Paul Keating’s assessment of Turnbull is that he is “brilliant, fearless, but he has no judgment”.

It was his judgment that was exposed when he made his decision to hit the nuclear button – demanding that the Prime Minister resign, based on nothing more than a fake email concocted by a public servant. From then on Turnbull’s leadership was hollow. Coalition discontent over the ETS finally collapsed it.

So it comes down to the fake email no matter what, and for all the talk of his high principles of sticking to the ETS plan, he was undone by not having enough principles to go and check the veracity of the Godwin Grech email.

Back in this post I wrote:

Now, it is true that if the allegations raised by the Opposition were indeed true, then it would amount to the scalp of the treasurer Wayne Swan. But if the e-mail was fake, then whoever stood up in parliament and lobbed it going to take the maximum heat for the slander. The really amazing thing is that it in this case, it is the latter scenario, with Malcolm Turnbull himself lobbing the accusations.

Something tells me that this is not going to go well for Mr. Turnbull, no matter which way they spin this. I’m not saying that Mr. Turnbull is going to commit suicide, mind you; I’m saying this thing might end up taking his political career away from him.

I sort of can’t believe anything so stupid is going on in Australia, but there you have it. Our very own faked e-mail scandal. Then again, I can see how politicians might have fallen right into this whammy. The Opposition should be moving to damage control within the week. This is ridiculous that they’ve run this up their flagpole without having done their verification and due diligence. It’s Amateur Hour with a good dose of incompetence there.

I’m more appalled by the low standard of rigor and the intellectual laziness of these polticians. It’s exasperating.

And here we are seeing the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s shining political career, less than a year later.

As a side note, I like this bit in the Hartcher article:

The man he brought down as leader, Brendan Nelson, has said of Turnbull: “He says the most appalling things and can’t understand why people get upset. He has no empathy. He’s got narcissistic personality disorder.”

That’s a likely story, but then I thought it was one of those prerequisites to be a Liberal Party leader.

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Emissions Tirading

Malcolm Turnbull’s Column

Here’s something in the SMH from deposed Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull.

At their core, these bills are as much the work of John Howard as of Kevin Rudd. We, as Liberals, believed in the superior efficiency of the free market to set a price on carbon. The Rudd government’s approach has broadly embodied the same principles, although there were problems with its initial design. But extensive modifications made in May and November made it a scheme that appropriately balances environmental effectiveness and economic responsibility.

Alternatives such as direct regulation or subsidies will be far more costly. Under a market-based mechanism, like an ETS, there is a clear, transparent and immediate incentive encouraging investment in lower emission technology.

Industries and businesses, attended by an army of lobbyists, are particularly persuasive and all too effective at getting their sticky fingers into the taxpayer’s pocket. Having the government pick projects for subsidy is a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale. Having the government pay for emissions abatement, as opposed to the polluting industries themselves, is a slippery slope to higher taxes and more costly and less effective abatement of emissions.

Most large emitters have committed to substantial reductions over the next decade. Many have already acted. The EU has had an ETS since 2005. China has committed to a 45 per cent reduction in emissions per unit of output by 2020. Japan has pursued lower emissions and higher energy efficiency for three decades. Our commitment is equivalent to a 21 per cent reduction.

The notion that this ETS would put Australia in front of the world is, sadly, completely wrong. We start way behind because our per capita emissions are so large, because our sources of energy are so overwhelmingly dependent on burning coal. This legislation is the only policy on offer which can credibly enable us to meet our commitment and the flexibility to move to higher cuts when warranted.

The ETS is far more in the great traditions of modern liberalism than any other available policy response.

I’m not a big fan of the ETS as proposed by the Howard Government or taken up by the Rudd Government.It doesn’t aim high enough, it doesn’t do enough, it hands out too many freebies to polluters and so on.

Thus, it is high time the government did set up a framework for setting the dollar value for carbon emissions. Even if flawed, the ETS that got negotiated between Labor and the Liberals under Malcolm urnbull represents the best compromise possible given the divergence of views.

It is stunning to note that the Greens would not negotiate to pass the ETS on the grounds it would be ineffective; which is the same kind of logic as killing the mongoloid baby because it’s not perfect. I understand the ETS is flawed, but not having anything is even worse, and this is exactly where the Greens have delivered the discourse.

In the mean time, the ignorant heartland of the Nationals and the highly misguided yet motivated idiots of the Liberal Right have scuttled the deal from the far right side, you would think the Greens would at least re-consider the position rather than continue to grandstand by not negotiating, and thus let nothing happen. It begs the point of what exactly they are in the Senate to do. One would have thought the point of the Greens would have been to be in the thick of designing a good policy for the environment.

We know the point of the Tony Abbott leadership is to scuttle the ETS once again and go to the polls with the Climate Change denial as platform. Therefore it is ethically incumbent upon the Greens to show a bit of gumption and maturity and negotiate the passage of the ETS through the Senate. It’s time to live up to their name instead of their ideals. Politics after all, is about the possible. This may be the issue that kills the Greens, much as passing the GST killed the Democrats.

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 08/02/10

SMH’s Most Commented

Here’s the top-most-commented page wherein it is argued, the MacBank employee got off too lightly.

No one with a heart can help feeling sorry for David Kiely, the hapless Macquarie stockbroker caught viewing near-naked images of Miranda Kerr on his work computer. Needless to say, it would be grossly unfair for Kiely to be disciplined more severely than normal by his employer simply because he was unlucky enough to be caught doing so live on Seven News, in a clip that has now amused millions of viewers around the globe.

What’s more, these kinds of sexually provocative images of women are so ubiquitous that it’s completely understandable that many are left thinking, “What’s the big deal?” With rather more sexually explicit images regularly confronting us all on billboards and the magazine stands in convenience stores and petrol stations, it might be hard to work up too much outrage over a picture of Kerr directing a gentle come-hither look over her modestly shielded naked breasts.

But that doesn’t mean that Kiely’s behaviour should be dismissed as the harmless manifestation of red-blooded maleness, or that objections to it should be decried as ”wowserism” or over-the-top political correctness. At a time when business leaders are wringing their hands over the dearth of women in finance and executive management roles, it’s worth considering how sexually explicit images of women affect us, and what kind of message they send in the workplace.

Got that? The semi-nude picture on Kiely’s personal monitor at work  – which just happened to go out to the public by his own stupidity – is a symbol for the unreconstructed sexism everywhere. What does this Cordelia Fine woman want? She’s not a wowser but she presumably wants more public humiliation for David Kiely. Like, yeah, that’ll be politically correct.

Personally, I find the Feminist wowserism to be just another kind of wowserism, probably because it always seems to emanate from White women with status and money.

If the Obama election told us anything, it’s that when both gender and race are talking points, gender issues get overstated in order to push race issues to the back and the people who argue this most vehemently are white women. Make of that what you will, but the SMH sort of misses it by lining it up with this one:

The second top-most-commented page is this one:

There are two pragmatic tests to ascertain the real level of racism in a country. Namely, the level of ethnic-motivated crime and the amount of inter-marriage between ethnic groups. Australia has a low level of ethnic crime and a high level of inter-marriages between all races, including indigenous people.

There is racism in every country. But Australia is not a racist nation. Certainly not when compared with societies where racism is, or has been, rife. The myth of Australia as racist has been promulgated by alienated leftist academics in Australia, who just happen to be employed in universities that are examples of tolerant multiculturalism at work.

From time to time a litany of journalists, actors, directors and the like join in the Australia-is-racist chorus. There is invariably a spike in such collective apologia around Australia Day. Among the voices heard this year was Warwick Thornton, the director of the widely acclaimed film Samson & Delilah.

Thornton told ABC TV News on January 24 that the Eureka flag will be like the swastika in 20 years’ time. In other words, according to Thornton, Australia is so racist it is just two decades away from Nazism, or at least fascism. Yet Thornton, who has an indigenous background, is a successful Australian whose work has been supported by the taxpayer through Screen Australia. His brilliant career, so far, suggests that Australia is anything but in pre-fascist mode.

So Gerard Henderson, a well-to-do middle-aged white guy with money and status is telling us that Warwick Thornton is wrong when he says Australian society is racist.

Again, I think Warwick Thornton not being the white suburban guy with all the social perks  that go with it, gets to make the call; not you, Mr. Henderson. The rest of the article is just you saying stuff that you find ideal. The real world is far from your ideal.

The utter lack of humility by both Cordelia Fine and Gerard Henderson makes me gag. Maybe it’s just the way columns have to be – stupidly single-minded and oblivious to the nuances of what is being argued.

I just thought I’d point that out before people sort of got the impression from the SMH that Australian society isn’t racist at all but were decidedly sexist to the point of no redemption.

Malcolm Turnbull Fighting On

This is tragic.

Giving his first parliamentary speech since losing the Liberal leadership in December, Mr Turnbull indicated he would cross the floor to vote with Labor when a vote was taken on the carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Mr Turnbull was scathing of the Coalition’s new direct-action policy, which aims to provide financial incentives to industry for reducing carbon emissions.

“We all know … that industry and businesses attended by an army of lobbyists are particularly persuasive and all too effective at getting their sticky fingers into the taxpayer’s pocket,” he told Parliament today.

“Having the government pick projects for subsidy is a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale.

“And there will always be a temptation for projects to be selected for their political appeal.”

A handful of Liberal MPs, including treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, were present in the chamber during Mr Turnbull’s speech.

The government allowed Mr Turnbull an additional 10 minutes to complete his speech as other MPs, including climate change sceptic Wilson Tuckey, wandered into the lower house ahead of a maiden speech by first-time MP Kelly O’Dwyer.

Mr Turnbull said his strong and long-standing personal commitment to an emissions trading scheme prevented him from voting against the government legislation.


“Prudence demands that we act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and do so in a way that is consistent with, and promotes global action to do the same,” he said.

“All of us here are accountable, not just to our constituents, but to the generations that will come after them and after us,” he said, adding it was Parliament’s job to legislate for the nation’s long-term future.

It was positive that both sides of Parliament had agreed to at least a 5 per cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, he said.

“But it is not enough to say that you support these cuts, you must also deliver a strong, credible policy framework that will deliver them.”

Without a strong climate change policy, Australia could not expect other countries, such as China and India, to heed the call to tackle global warming, he said.

Mr Turnbull said his arguments in favour of the ETS now were “no different to those I have made and stood for, for the last three years”.

Schemes, like that proposed by Mr Abbott, which would give millions of taxpayers’ dollars to selected new technologies, were “neither economically efficient nor environmentally effective” compared with a market-based approach.

It’s really weird it’s come to this, but weirder still, Tony Abbott is getting a lot of loony support for his Claytons Climate policy. There are a lot of wishful people out there, trying to wish away the cumulative consequences of humanity’s actions.

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