*Pic: A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. NASA says: News outlets, schools, and text-book authors may use NASA content without needing explicit permission.
Will this be a carbon copy election ~ or a ballot for a future with a future?
With CO2 passing 400 parts per million (ppm) at Cape Grim recently and leaping toward 410 ppm in other places, carbon is on the minds of many voters.
As the realisation grows that we have a carbon problem that needs political attention by the politicians of this nation, the question remains ~ exactly what should we be doing about it?
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s view on the matter still resonates with some, but after strange weather in Tasmania with warmer coastal water, drought, wildfires, flooding and a power crisis to boot, the mood is shifting toward action.
On top of this the Internet has been hit for six for many when Basslink failed, rubbing salt into the wound of the nation getting less than the best NBN, having been once promised faster, cheaper, sooner, we see that serpent of a promise slithering along slower, more expensive and much later than planned.
While the residents of Queenstown are up in arms over getting an alien service from space that will knock the legs of enterprise, many more are waking up to the details that the new age that we are tumbling into works best with proper fast Internet.
The NBN dogs-breakfast will be sorted eventually, as private enterprise meets consumer demands, but at what cost to the nation?
Instead of a unified NBN service for the nation, we will be lucky to see 50 shades of service, spread wherever anyone can afford a better deal.
Australia’s three-legged race NBN, tied and handicapped for the race, will be remembered with rage with time when the real cost of a real NBN must be met.
Opportunities lost are rarely regained without much greater cost.
THE CARBON QUESTION
There definitely needs to be a rapid-fire solution to the CO2 problem, if all I have read over the past ten years on the science is for real, and I think it is.
According to James Hansen ~ Storms of My Grandchildren, 2009 ~ with CO2 above 350 ppm in the air, we run the risk of forcing our planet’s climate system into a runaway greenhouse.
This is in part because the rise of the CO2 level is so rapid at present, the speed of its rise is destabilising the Earth’s life-support systems and the finely tuned carbon balance.
It may simply be that evolution cannot work fast enough to keep pace with human schemes and dreams.
With CO2 now passing 400 ppm and rising fast, do we have a problem?
If yes, then the logical first approach is to extract excess carbon from the air and get this below 350 ppm ASAP.
The volume of CO2 that will need to be dealt with is quite large, especially as the oceans have absorbed much of the emissions and will release them back into the air, as CO2 is reduced in the air.
Chemical engineer James E. Miller wrote on the matter ~ “Splitting carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon and oxygen can in fact be accomplished, but there is a catch: doing so requires energy.” 
That looks pretty straight-forward and all we need is enough energy to break down CO2 into carbon and oxygen.
With a need to control rising levels of CO2 and start driving the level back down, what if we used the power of the Sun to provide the level of power needed?
The volume of CO2 to be dealt with can be clearly identified, even as the level rises in the air, so the level of energy needed to deal with the problem can also be figured out.
Could we build a large enough number of large solar thermal power plants in the hot deserts of Australia and other lands to do this work?
If more power is required to win back a safe Earth, where could this energy come from?
We must act, because the higher the level of CO2 rises, the higher the Earth’s temperature will go and an increasingly more dangerous future will be our doom.
REACHING TO THE SUN FOR POWER
In his 1977 book ~ The High Frontier ~ Professor Gerard K. O’Neill of Princeton wrote on solar power stations in space ~ “If this development comes to pass, we will find ourselves here on Earth with a clean energy source, and we will further improve our environment by saving, each year, over a billion tons of fossil fuels,” (page 162).
We can but wonder now if running with a space future in the 1970s would have allowed us to keep a safe Earth.
Faced with the daunting challenge of winning back a safe Earth, forgive me for wondering if I am having to get back to the future.
Faced with the need to extract excess carbon from the air and dealing with the extracted carbon using the power of the Sun, it’s a bit too much like a really big version of the NBN political prank.
It’s terrifying that politicians can find plenty of treasure for war, but when it comes to some of the basics of survival and a quality of life, the pollies are off with the crackers.
Is it time for the voters to slam the electoral brakes on and demand some action on life’s qualities, not just the government’s ability to kill people, lock up refugees and create poverty in a wealthy nation?
If we can cut to the chase and raise a vision for the millennium, there is a way to fix all problems and earn a good reputation for being a leader with credit.
The problems that we are saddled with are artificial constructs set up to create an environment of fear.
Let’s try considering a way beyond fear, homelessness, poverty, unemployment and under-employment.
Let’s try considering a way beyond the refugee problem.
Let’s try considering a way that we can deal with the carbon problem, win back a safe Earth and offer a healthy and creative life for all Earth’s children.
Let’s try considering the power of the Sun, which can provide the energy needed to do any work, fix the Earth’s climate and send poverty into history.
By appreciating the power of the Sun and how this gold can be shared with all nations, we can also look toward a future with peace on Earth.
Who would reject that?
THE POWER OF THE SUN
To deal with all problems on Earth, we must begin seeing the Solar System as a whole, as a whole system.
In the heart of the Solar System is our star, the Sun, which is now 35% hotter than at its birth 4.5 billion years ago and has so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star.
What could we achieve with direct access to all that power?
All we have to do is build solar power stations in space to gain direct connection to the power of the Sun.
With solar power stations in space, we will be able to launch industry beyond Earth and in time, secure a sustainable industrial presence in space.
This will allow us to build the Earth’s defences against asteroids, invest in a stellar economy with infinite wealth generation and also fix the carbon problem on Earth.
We can win back a safe Earth, if we are willing to act on the power of the Sun.
The closer a solar power station were located to the Sun, the more power it would generate.
Migrating anything closer to the Sun is simply to roll downhill and take up a new orbit.
A laser beam could be used to send power to any location in the Solar System.
Having secured unlimited access to the power of the Sun, we will have unlimited energy and heat levels, even pressure levels, to process carbon that has been extracted from the air into a useful resource.
Research needs to be invested in all that can be produced with extracted carbon and the uses that processed carbon can be applied to.
Given unlimited energy levels from the Sun, we can wonder if there is any carbon derivative that could not be formed.
From being a problem of dire consequence, we can turn the crisis around and create new opportunities and a new minerals boom in the Antipodes, built on the power of the Sun and the mining of carbon from the air.
This would be the best possible way to turn the carbon problem around and into a boon for the future of Earth’s children.
Could carbon be a hidden bonanza, just as the real gold in space is the Sun.
Not knowing how hot the Earth will become from raising the planet’s temperature through burning fossil fuel like there was no tomorrow, we can consider ways to cool the Earth.
The safest way to do this is to build an adjustable sunshade in space between the Earth and the Sun.
With industry in space, we will be able to build a planet sunshade, which could also double as a solar power collector.
The current life expectancy of life on Earth is around a billion years.
A sunshade above Earth could extend life on Earth by billions of years, until the Sun gets too large and hot and any future civilisation still on Earth, must abandon ship.
Venus was once like Earth, with a similar amount of water and for all we know, life may have begun there.
With a very long day and being located closer to the Sun, a runaway greenhouse effect turned up the heat on second rock, evaporated all water to vapour, which rose in the air and was blown away into space by the solar wind.
Now the atmosphere of Venus is mostly CO2, trapping heat, where the rocks glow and it’s so hot, lead will melt on the surface.
Could Venus be made like Earth?
Locating a sunshade above Venus would be the first step in turning second rock into a second Earth.
The next step would be to mine carbon from the air.
The first Venusian cities may be located on large floating platforms in the air, where carbon could be mined and processed.
It would be far better to look toward Venus becoming a second Earth, than allowing the Earth to fall to the fate of becoming a second Venus.
A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR TASMANIA
Not knowing when the next drought will hit and dry up the dams, or if Basslink will fail again, should Tasmania launch an unexpected strategy?
Should Tasmanian voters needle the candidates in the current Federal election, to look to Australia working with all leading nations to build solar power stations in space?
If Tasmania used enough long needles to achieve this, the island State could look to power harvested in space being beamed to Tasmania.
In this future, there would be no need for Basslink.
With the power of the Sun, we could drought-proof the island, by desalinating any volume of ocean water and pump the liquid gold to any location, even topping up the dams in a drought.
In the face of a carbon crisis that threatens the future for our children, if not ourselves, Tasmania could become a World leader in carbon extraction from the air, and also processing extracted carbon into a useful resource for Earth and space industries.
This would create highly innovative work for all Tasmanians needing employment and income.
With the space vision shining brightly, Tasmania could also invest in space development, offering astronaut training on the island, and researching the growing of food for space, and in space.
Tasmania already has the national facility in Scottsdale to develop and process nutritious and high energy food for the military.
With a view to a space future, Tasmania can play a significant role and be in at the ground level.
SPACE OR WAR?
With a growing population on Earth and limited land, there are clear limits to growth, while beyond Earth there are no such limits, whether across the Solar System or among the stars.
With Russia pushing west into Ukraine and China thrusting south into the South China Sea, we can but wonder if a short fuse will be lit that sparks global conflict, which could all too easily tumble into nuclear madness.
Nuclear weapons, when used in vengeance and number, could spell an end to life on Earth.
China has shown a willingness to act aggressively in the South China Sea, build islands and plans to build submarine cities.
China may also build floating cities.
Should conflict break out and become a global war, would Australia be safe?
A Chinese company already leases the Port of Darwin.
China may simply decide that Australia must be occupied, so that it cannot be used to fight back from, as happened in the last great war with Japan.
With a view to the resources of Antarctica, China may also claim the frozen continent.
Could this happen as a trade-off to avoid nuclear war?
Such a trade-off has happened before.
In 1961 Indonesia began invading New Guinea and Australia was prepared to fight with the Dutch in defence of the Papuans.
In 1962 the United States used its power to force the Dutch out, told Australia to butt out and arranged for West Papua to be given to Indonesia, to buy peace.
It was an amazing and brutal slave trade in Papuan lives and theft of Papuan land and resources.
Having gone along with that, it would be rather ironic if Australia fell to the same kind of trade.
Compared to the population of the United States, there are not that many people living in Australia.
The whole population of the Antipodes could be sent to America, and we would hardly be noticed.
If we value our liberty, the key to our forward defence may be to reach to the Sun for power, by working with all leading nations, including Russia, China and the United States, to build solar power stations in space and launch industry beyond Earth.
With industry in space, land can be created beyond Earth in orbital space settlements. 
Instead of fighting over land and water in Ukraine and the South China Sea, we will be preparing for a future where there could be more people living beyond Earth in space settlements than were ever born on Earth.
By raising a future for all nations beyond Earth, conflicts over land and sea can be scaled back on Earth.
Investing in space development is the way to win back a safe planet, send poverty into history and work toward peace on Earth.
This is the forward defence that may determine whether the Antipodes remain free.
BUILDING A STRONGER NATION
With power from space, Australia could desalinate any volume of ocean water and pump the liquid gold to any location, turning the deserts green and building hundreds of new cities with thousands of new industries.
Carbon extraction from the air and processing could be the foundation of a new minerals boom in all parts of the Antipodes.
In this future, Australia will not have a refugee problem.
By lifting the lid on pressure-cooker Earth and opening the high frontier, we will help offer a new vision for all the nations.
By helping to deliver solar power harvested in space to all nations, the reason for many people becoming refugees will be greatly diminished.
With the power of the Sun in Australia put to work, there will be a call for many new Australians, which will make the Ballarat gold rush look like a Sunday picnic in a country town.
With industry and an increased population, Australia will strengthen it’s hand as a nation on the World stage as a force for peace.
With active preparation for a future among the stars happening in the Antipodes, many people moving to Australia will be working toward flying to the new lands to be created in orbital space settlements.
If we cannot consider this future, we may not have a future to consider.
The Eureka rebels once looked to the stars and saw the Southern Cross.
We can now look to a future where we will see the Southern Cross flying across the Solar System and be proud of the sight of our flag.
Our efforts may now hold the key to survival, as well as the future creative opportunities for all Earth’s children.
Good luck with your campaign and I hope this vision is the one that you will run with.
It is by far better to have a vision of our own, than to be told what to think by an empire.
It is time for Australia to find its own feet, on Earth and among the stars.
 ‘Why not split harmful carbon dioxide into harmless carbon and oxygen?’
James E. Miller, Scientific American, 9 July 2009
 Orbital Space Settlements
National Space Society