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'Scorcher: the dirty politics of climate change'

Margo: Roger Fedyk is a longtime Webdiary contributor. His independent Webdiary archive is here. Roger is a computer database expert who helped enormously in the 2005 move from the Sydney Morning Herald website to to an independent operation.  He's stood by Webdiary during tough times, and I love him for it. This is his second book review for Webdiary. His first was 'A life of unlearning' (June 2005)

Now, would anyone like to review the other investigative book on the Australian politics of climate change out now? High and Dry is by Guy Pearse, a former liberal staffer turned academic, who exposed the existence of a 'greenhouse mafia' while researching his thesis. Four Corners used some of his work in The Greenhouse Mafia, broadcast in February 2006.

Clive Hamilton’s book Scorcher, the dirty politics of climate change is guaranteed to make you angry whichever side of the climate change debate you support.

Let me declare at the outset that I am 99% convinced by the arguments that are put in support of climate change being driven by mankind’s burning of fossil fuel. I have a small 1% element of reservation, not because I think that the pro-global warming science is badly done. My reservation is centred on the uncertainty of exactly how the exquisitely complex interaction of nature’s forces will react to compensate for the extra greenhouse gas that we are pouring into the atmosphere.

There has to be some credence given to the idea that we may be experiencing natural variability and that the greenhouse emissions are not a potentially catastrophic problem. The challenge that we face in making a decision is that our record keeping is abysmally inadequate. We have barely two hundred years of well-kept records and approximately two thousand years of sparsely kept ones. To be able to make sense of our current predicament we need hundreds of thousands of years of records.

There are some scientific methods, such as ice sheet cores, that do give us a glimpse of long ago weather. But the information that we gather by these methods are records of effects and not causes. It does not help us as much as we need when we cannot sufficiently link causes and effects.

Perhaps many of you also share this small seed of doubt, but there are other ways in which we can reach a decision as to what our decision needs to be. Needless to say, if I was offered odds of 100 to 1 on, about a two horse race, on which my whole life was staked, I would be a fool to back the 100 to 1 against chance. Being 99% certain in this two-horse race is enough to make my personal decision to support all efforts to reverse the effects of global warming.

So, even if the science is bamboozling, even if sceptics abound in newspapers and other media, why would I risk my future on the long-shot that nature will accept everything that we throw at it and bounce back?

So back to the book!

Hamilton has gone to considerable lengths to research and document his sources. The book is very thorough and easy to read. It is not a scientific treatise. Instead, it focuses on politics and, in particular, dirty politics.

Hamilton’s bad guys are John Howard, the fossil-fuel lobby of which ExxonMobil is presented as by far the worst, Murdoch media outlets, and various think tanks that support conservative ideology. Against supporters of the climate change theory, it is a well-identified group that is incredibly well-organised and funded and, sometimes, open about its mission. For example, read Andrew Bolt to see what a completely unapologetic anti-climate change zealot sounds like. Bolt has no doubts, at least none that he is paid to express.

Murdoch’s media, for which Andrew Bolt works, are an interesting case study. Like a whore who services all comers, Murdoch’s papers are virulently anti-climate change in Australia and pro-climate change in the UK. In the US, Fox remains true to its ideological right-wing roots and lambasts supporters of climate change while other more respectable newspapers owned by News Corporation take a more measured and sometimes pro-climate change stance. What may be deduced from this is that, whichever way the wind blows, Rupert is making money from all constituencies.

Hamilton spends considerable time trying to reveal what motivates John Howard to act in the ways that he has when considering climate change policy. The Prime Minister is a late convert to the need to act and certainly still behaves as a climate change sceptic. His rhetoric does not match his actions. Hamilton suggests that such strong resistance by Howard to change his thinking on climate change is born of more than just an ideological conviction. In fact, Howard has been remarkably consistent in his actions. He will do nothing that would jeopardise Australia’s position as the world’s largest coal exporter, and will go to any lengths to be the favoured supplier of all type of energy and mineral resources to China.

Hamilton exposes the sequence of events and Government actions, in which we have connived with the Americans, to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol. Equally compelling is his reporting of the international reaction to what we have done. It seems as if there has been a gross failure on the part of most media outlets to inform the Australian public how we viewed with disdain and even disgust by other nations, even those who are our allies in most things.

It is tempting to lay the blame on Howard and his government for what has been done in our name but, at the end of the day, it is the Australian public with whom much of the fault lies. We have been gullible and self-absorbed. As a nation, we do not really take the threat of global warming seriously. The disengagement by the public at large has allowed our politicians of both major political persuasions to give our big polluters a free ride.

Labor has been disappointingly weak in its responses. Of course, Howard is acutely of this and has been using it to his advantage. Hamilton states that the Government has changed its rhetoric of late to sheet the blame and responsibility for ameliorating action on the public and not the polluting industries. And right on cue, John Howard has announced his climate change initiatives. Nothing will be required of industry until the Government carbon trading scheme is enacted in 2012. Instead schools and the public are exhorted to act.

The whipping boys, and public diversion, for both Coalition and Labor have been the Greens. The most vitriolic and reprehensible bile has been reserved for Bob Brown and his associates. Even Satan gets a better press. Ask yourself, why? Such things are never done by accident. They are always done by design. When Brown had the temerity to suggest that we should stop coal exports he was immediately pilloried as a “loony”.

There is such depth in its revealing details that I would need to write another book in trying to review it. I commend it to all sides of the debate.


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new doco

Watch out for the new doco 11th hour. And see http://www.11thhouraction.com/?source=cmailer

Those pesky green extremists were right. The Greens deserve your vote, in my opinion, for decades of hard yards without pay or other reward except knowing they cared enough to try to break through the walls of big business/big government. It's not easy being demonised and marginalised when you know you're on the right track.

Why Do People Think There Anything Will Change?

Ernest William

But then, it should have dawned on the non-believers that Howard and his government are servile and subject to the US Administration.

An absolute myth! No Australian Government is or has ever been servile to a US Administration. Mr. Rudd disavowed socialism about the time he traveled to the USA to reassure investors (and Australian) it would be business as usual. The reasons I suspect people find both he, and his opponent impossible to separate. I would expect no changes from the current energy, and mining policies. There are ways politically to escape from any "election type promises", and Mr. Rudd will have already devised his escape clause. This will be accepted by both of Australia's major parties.

The USA has had, and will always have a very good relationship with Australia. The fact is the two nations are a natural mix. The problems Australian workers will face under Mr Rudd are a too close relationship with China (through free-trade amongst other things).

Your outlook on a possible "new look" Australian Government is not reality based.

The rise and rise of Michael Rimmer: Nuke 'em, John ...

John Pratt Can we trust Howard on Nuclear Power?

An indicative plebiscite on polling day in each and every Commonwealth Division should tell us, and inform the voters, under our Defence Powers reference. I bet Maxine would love one in Bennelong.

Question: do you think the local N-Plant should be in (a) Wollstoncraft or (b) Kirribilli or (c) other or (d) none of these whatsoever and please dump Howard's shrivelled corpse outside the Heads, chained to a drum of Glenn Milne's migraine medication?

Indicative plebiscites at any cost - good enough for Queensland, good enough for the nation.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, Nazariti of glow-in-the-dark Fraser

Nuclear Australia? Howard Yes - Rudd No.

It is pointless to discuss the possibility of nuclear proliferation in Australia for two reasons:

  • The re-election of the Howard "New Order" will be considered by him as a mandate for a nuclear Australia. That is a fact.
  • The election of the Australian Labor Party, or any other party for that matter, Australia will not become nuclear. And that is a fact.

The pending election, which Howard will bastardise in any way he can to avoid a true democratic result, may well be our last peaceful chance to save our nation from the abyss of the dark ages.

The talk of the extreme dangers; the heavy costs; and the unclean future of increasing the nuclear proliferation, by nuclear reactors and enriching uranium, has been completely ignored by Howard and his "New Order".

Howard and his robots have, as one and using the same language, refused to tell us where the reactors will be situated.

However, their lies came undone when Howard/Costello admitted in Parliament (with the normal laugh-it-off chorus) that Howard's mates had registered a Nuclear Energy Australia - and with the fascist's good wishes.

Howard has even gone to the extent, albeit a bit at a time, of saying that the US will finance the reactor building and commercial interests will decide where they will be sited.

In a any true democracy, no government of any persuasion would adopt that un-mandated stance.

But then, it should have dawned on the non-believers that Howard and his government are servile and subject to the US Administration.

We also know that Howard "never ever" takes notice of the people, so any High Court challenge; or massive demonstrations, defying his legal military "shoot to kill" laws, et al., will not change his mind! And his robots will follow as always.

The total dishonesty of Howard has naturally collected around him low-life people of similar fascist ideas of absolute power – without conscience or national pride.

As testament to this is the fact that, with all of the rorting and ministerial misconduct of his minions, none have been dismissed from the Liberal Party. Doesn't that tell us something?

But we will soon have a chance to remove them all.


Can we trust Howard on Nuclear Power?

The Government said nuclear power should be considered as an option for future energy supplies.

But Nationals candidate Dr Sue Page, who will contest the federal seat of Richmond in northern NSW in the coming election, yesterday said the junior coalition party was committed to opposing nuclear development.

Opposition spokesman for infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, said Dr Page's position represented a rupture in the coalition policy.

"The coalition is split to the extent that it's arguing that you can have 25 nuclear reactors but they won't actually be located anywhere," Mr Albanese told ABC radio.

Mr Albanese said local communities were scared of having nuclear reactors built in their back yards.

"Nuclear reactors are opposed by local communities, which is why you have this bizarre position of local candidates trying to pretend that they won't have nuclear reactors in their electorates," he said.

The Nationals candidate for the new federal seat of Flynn, Glenn Churchill, said the Government had not made a commitment to nuclear power.

"The Australian Government has not decided that nuclear power should form part of Australia's energy supply, whether it's in the new federal seat of Flynn or anywhere else in Australia," Mr Churchill told ABC radio.

"We need to deal with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Who knows where the nuclear power stations would be located if Howard was reelected? Anywhere, but not in my backyard. This is like his promise on GST, we will only get the fine detail if Howard is reelected. 

Government structures hindering work to stop climate change.

A Sydney climate change forum has been told the Federal Government's promises to stabilise climate change are not enough to combat global warming.

Former CSIRO chief of atmospheric research Graeme Pearman says modern governance structures are actually hindering work designed to stop climate change.

Dr Pearman says the Government must look at decreasing emissions, not just stabilising them

"The science of the carbon cycle tells us that because of the long lifetime of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - it's about 80 years - you can't stop the increase in concentration by simply stopping the increase of emissions," he said.

"You have to decrease emissions, and you unfortunately have to decrease them by about 80 per cent."

As the Howard government argues over the reality of climate change. Scientist are telling us we have to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent. We have one chance to let the politicians know how serious this problem is. We must change the Government at the next election. 

Coral reef are disappearing.

Coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific are disappearing twice as fast as tropical rainforests, say researchers. They have completed the first comprehensive survey of coral reefs in this region, which is home to 75% of the world's reefs.

For people living in Cairns this is really bad news. As the effects of climate change begin to grow, one of the first things to go will be coral reefs. The tourist industry in Cairns is worth $4.5 billion. The cost of Howard's inaction is continuing to mount. We can't afford anymore climate change deniers.

Coral Reef

John Pratt, I hope the people of Cairns are not waiting for Rudd to save the reef, it will not happen.

Labor has a plan and understand the threat of climate change.

 L. Ferguson, Labor has much better plan to reduce our carbon emissions. They understand the enormity of the problem. Howard still thinks it's not a problem.

Climate change is also an economic challenge. That's why Labor will implement an emissions trading scheme in 2010, providing the right market signals for industry and ensuring our trade-exposed sectors are not disadvantaged. Labor has a target to reduce emissions by 60 percent by 2050 (based on levels from 2000), which is what the CSIRO tells us is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

Economic modelling by the Business Roundtable on Climate Change – including leading companies BP, Origin Energy, IAG, Visy Industries and Westpac – shows 60 percent cuts are achievable while maintaining strong economic growth.

We want action now; and we have a plan. We'll help families with cash rebates for solar panel and low interest loans of up to $10,000 for practical action at home. We'll also build a 'cleaner energy' economy, and substantially increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. Ongoing investment in innovation and research in clean technologies will build new market opportunities and drive efficiency improvements across the economy. Labor will help industry produce greener cars with a $500 million investment. And we'll also work with our farmers to prepare for the change by fast tracking the National Agriculture and Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Finally, Labor will immediately ratify the Kyoto protocol and restore Australia's international leadership on climate change.

Don't buy water front property!

STEFAN RAHMSTORF: I have done a study linking the past observed sea level rise since 1880, based on data from John Church in Hobart, to the amount of global warming. And there is a very clear link between the two: the warmer it gets, the faster the sea level rises. And if you simply take this connection between sea-level and temperature into the future, you come up with a projection to the year 2100 of a sea-level rise between 50 centimetres and one metre 40, depending on how warm it gets. That mostly depends on how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we will emit in the future.

KAREN BARLOW: So what problems do you foresee by continuing to underestimate sea-level rises?

STEFAN RAHMSTORF: I think at the moment policy-makers are not aware of the full risks of global warming. They are still not fully appreciating how serious the issue is.

And that includes things like a sea-level rise which we cannot predict for certain how much it will be, but we certainly need to respond to risks, even if there's just a few per cent chance of sea-level rising by several metres which would drown some big coastal cities, that would be extremely serious.

For example, we would never accept a bridge that has a risk of collapsing of one in a thousand even, so how can we take a risk of say one per cent that we are going to drown coastal cities?

We can argue all we like about climate change, but scientists measuring sea levels, say we should be alarmed. Millions of lives are at risk, billions of dollars will have to be spent to move vulnerable infrastructure and buildings. How can anyone deny that we are at risk? We should react now before it is too late.

Not again, Barnaby Joyce!

Or should that be "Judas Joyce"?

This person's political history, even in the short time he has had to disgrace and betray his Queenslanders, is not one to commend.

Firstly, he wouldn't even be there unless he had lied to his constituents by guaranteeing that, if elected, he would vehemently oppose the sale of Telstra.

The first time his vote became a winner for Howard and his intention to sell Telstra, "Judas Joyce" provided the vote! Shades of Meg Lees who betrayed her constituents and her Party to give Howard the "Never Ever" GST.

When people started to become restless about the not-so-clear facts of WorkChoices, "Judas Joyce" and Family First Fielding both said that they would oppose it because it damages families.

When the vote came, "Judas Joyce" agreed with Howard. I believe that Fielding kept his word.

Time and time again Barnaby Joyce has been Howard’s attempted appearance of a “checks and balances” Senate.

With Howard’s history of lies and deception, it is not offensive to become aware of yet another of his wedges.

However, Barnaby Joyce is not only betraying the Queenslanders who elected him, but the entire Australian population.

I could be more encouraged to respect him if he was honest enough to admit that he, like all the other Liberal/Nationalists in the Parliament, Reps or Senate, serve the Prime Minister in any way he decides.

This appearance of unity is as false as the debt-ridden economy, but is dealt with by the public with perception and reason.

Of all the many fascist intentions and performances of the Howard “New Order”, one of the most despicable is the act of “considering” while all the time being subject to the wishes of just one person.

Barnaby “Judas Joyce” is not in the next half Senate election. But don’t forget his betrayal of his constituents and Australian families.

There is no truth – just the powers that be.


Emus are cool

Jenny, I like emus, mainly because I can make fun of them and then fly away because they can’t. They take it well and all in all they do have a sense of humour, and at times are somewhat curious.

I remember around 25 years ago the Potomac decided to stop out in the bush (forget that it needed fuel to keep moving) and lifted the bonnet to have a peek. After a minute or two I felt a presence, turned my head to find an emu with its head under the bonnet looking at me from a distance of about 18 inches; scared the crap out of me as I did it when my head hit the bonnet.

Speaking of crap, I was told by an aboriginal friend that emus like to eat shiny stuff, like alluvial gold, and he would examine their droppings for the shiny stuff. I never had any luck and suspect my aboriginal mate was putting shit on me.

Anyway hope that you get more water soon and if you happen upon emu droppings I’d really like to know if emus do really get into the prospecting thing.

PS, maybe Kevin Rudd does not look people in the eye because he is to busy licking his lips, he must be hungry, very hungry or is getting in practice to lick other things.

Fiona: Hmmmm, young albatross, I seem to remember that emus have a certain talent with respect to the door of the smallest building … which is probably entirely appropriate if your claims regarding their eating habits is correct.

A ruddy good shake

Funny you should mention Rudd licking his lips, Justin my love. That habit is really beginning to get under my skin. That, and a lack of concrete policies.

Sometimes I just want to get a hold of him and give him a good shake. Sheesh, he reminds me so much of a younger version of Howard. Spooky, huh?

Who is Kevin Rudd really? I wonder!

How can you dance....

 Note no one has raised the Rudd/Garrett Tassie rainforests stunt of yesterday, yet.  Won't harp on it, because there are as many guilty  Tories as  Labor as far as  Tassie Carbon  Sinks are concerned and environment in general.

Astonishing the current state of affairs when you think of the environmental response of people like Jack  Mundy in the 'seventies before Gallaghar ruined that union and Fraser a generation ago or even  Faulkner in the 'nineties, before sheer weight of Luddite numbers overwhelmed him

You find yourself remembering this Golden Age, before the arrival of the barbarians "wide-eyed with greed" and today's Dark Age.

What went wrong?

What About This Then

Paul, Rudd is currently doing everything that he can not to give Howard a weapon to use against him. Smart politics? Definitely! Honest politics? Wash your mouth out with soap.

We can only hope that it is not a precursor to "business-as-usual" but only after a successful Labor election campaign will we know.

I don't expect it to be hugely different but things will start to move in the right direction particularly with Australia becoming a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. Let's give Rudd a chance till then because I could not stomach another three years of Howardthebastard or any of his sanctimonious henchmen.

No rudder, and no emus either

Roger, having seen the me tooism over the Tasmanian forests I doubt that Rudd will change anything at all. He'll fiddle at the edges of the Workchoices thing a bit, but that is about all. He is like a ship under tow, with no need of a rudder. Ian likens him to a plastic choir boy. What I notice too is that he rarely if ever looks anyone in the eye when he's spouting his set line responses. It is hard to know just exactly what he stands for though I guess we will soon find out as Howard is bound to go down. So at least on that score you can probably relax.

In the meantime I notice the emus have not set this year. Last year they set, but no chicks hatched. And the reptiles are already coming out of hibernation, a month early. All signs of an early and dry hot summer ahead.

A scorching future for JWH & Co?

Roger, I read Clive Hamilton's Scorcher, the Dirty Politics of Climate Change a few weeks ago, and my copy is now on loan to a friend. So I haven't got it by me to refer to. However, I do not disagree with anything you have written in your review of it.

I have made reading climate change literature a fairly high priority, and am currently half way through Jim Falk and Andrew Brownlow's The Greenhouse Challenge - What's to be Done? (Penguin 1989). Although it's written 17 years ago, I strongly recommend it. (On the other hand, like Per Bak's How Nature Works, it may be no longer in print.)

Hamilton calls Hugh Morgan and other carbon-reactionary business chiefs the 'Greenhouse Mafia'. The amazing thing about these people is that they don't live on Mars, Jupiter or some other planet. They and their hired guns see their mission as one of protecting the major CO2 generating industries; delaying modification of plant or policy as long as possible, and fighting the introduction of CO2 emission limits and carbon trading schemes. Yet this Earth is the planet they are resident on, and presumably will remain on. They are betting either that nothing humans do will alter the climate significantly from the direction it would take anyway, or that if we get into runaway greenhouse, somehow technology or their own accumulated wealth will rescue them. They could be planning to get into carbon sequestration in a big way, and to manage their business operations from Tasmania, the South Island of NZ, Greenland or the Antarctic Peninsula if the rest of the globe is too hot for comfort.

The major furphy they flog is that Australia's 2% or so contribution to the annual atmospheric CO2 increment is so small that it's not worth losing either any sleep or any money over. What they have not counted on is the potential backlash from the countries which have ratified Kyoto, who can start moving against Australia in significant ways if it suits them to. Howard was crowing about the way the deal negotiated by Robert Hill at Kyoto represented a "win for Australia” – giving the clearest indication yet of his competitive approach to the issue – but then reneged on ratification anyway. Howard's simultaneous use of the issue to beat up support for a nuclear power program in this country displays breathtaking cynicism and opportunism. In all, it has cost us ten years; time we could have spent helping turn the climate crisis around.

In my wild erratic fancy, I put Howard's current fall from grace in the polls down to rising popular awareness of the CC problem, and of his head-in-the-till approach to it. He and his supporters on the extreme right of the business community weigh all this up in cost-benefit terms: what is the minimum we can get away with; what is the longest we can delay? If they were on a cruise liner that was sinking they would want to be last out of the bar but first into the lifeboats.

Meanwhile, Australia has lost the lead it once had in greenhouse-friendly technology. The CSIRO and the universities, which have been progressively starved of funds and dismantled by the “economic rationalists” of both Labor and Liberal persuasions, could be playing a vital role here. Sadly, much of Australia's technical and research skill has made its way offshore.

But on the bright side as I write, the ABC's Carbon Cops have just got this week's family down from 72 tonnes of CO2 per year to a mere 18 tonnes. By my calculation, where previously the plants had to produce 49 tonnes of dry body mass to sequester the family's CO2, they now only have to make about 12 tonnes.

Another good review is here.

NSW meets Kyoto...

Ian MacDougall, "NSW will meet the Kyoto carbon emissions targets although coal will remain a large part of energy usage in the state, the state government says.

Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Phil Koperberg said that coal was a multi-million dollar industry that employed about 14,000 people in NSW.

"The reality is that for the time being we need coal," Mr Koperberg told a climate change conference, hosted by the Australian Institute of Energy.

"About six per cent of total energy now comes from renewable sources and that will continue to increase". 
"But, if we were to stop mining coal and we were to stop using coal to power our electricity generators then 94 per cent of us would probably get home tonight and not have power to cook or see or anything else."

On current trends, NSW would meet the Kyoto targets, he said.

So if NSW can do it why can't the other Labor States do it? I think he should also tell Kevin Rudd that promising to fix global warming is non-event. It should also save Rudd a trip overseas to ratify Kyoto, should he win.

Godzilla Meets Mothra

Ian, thank you for adding some more detail from Hamilton's book. The part that Hugh Morgan has played in stiffening JWH's backbone when standing up for the fossil-fuel polluters is pivotal to much that Australia has done to muddy the international political and scientific waters.

L. Ferguson, we do find ourselves in a quandary when it comes to the reality of our living in this modern world. We are completely dependent on cheap power and will find it enormously difficult to realign our lives with the need to reduce our impact on this world's finite resources. It will require such a drastic and fundamental shift back to a simpler lifestyle that most of us do not want to contemplate it. Like the frog sitting in the saucepan of water that is being gradually heated, we may well be boiled alive before we realise how things have been screwed up.

If technology is to be our saviour then we should be seeing that technology in action today. Where is "clean coal" technology (as big an oxymoron as you can find) being employed today? In a few places it is true, if a Google search is any guide, but not on a scale that will make any difference to greenhouse gas emissions. The fossil-fuel industry is talking about 25-30 year time frames to really invent a clean-coal power generation plant. In this they are using the assumption that it will be economically viable by then: read their literature. I know that the environment is not driven by economic considerations. Why aren't your alarm bells ringing?

The "clean coal" mantra is trotted out by recalcitrant governments and lobby organisations but it really is a "soup stone". It exists mainly in the imaginations of the proponents. It is meant to convey an impression that something can be done and is being done.

Geo-sequestration, the other great saviour, is being used in some places but it requires stable geological strata and an enormous investment in pipelines. Hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipelines will have to be built. And ironically, more power stations will be required to power the pumps that will push the billions of tonnes of CO2 back into the earth.

Just one question: what is it that you think the NSW government is actually doing? Have they solved the greenhouse emissions problem?

A point of clarification as well. The ratification of the Kyoto protocol is a course of action for those countries, like China, who have signed the protocol. We can't ratify anything because we are not a signatory. To Kyoto-subscribing nations Australia is a pariah and a greenhouse gas emissions cheat of the first order. Read Hamilton's book to see how Howard, initially ably assisted by Robert Hill, masterminded the subversion of the first Kyoto accord. When Hill finally "got religion", Howard got rid of him and replaced him with the compliant dunderhead, Ian Campbell, who turned out to be such a fool that the job has now been given to the much more able Malcolm Turnbull. Thanks to these supposedly clever machinations, the world is pretty much over its love affair with Australia.

That means that Australia is currently excluded from participating in the multibillion (perhaps trillion) dollar industries that are now emerging within those countries that are under the Kyoto umbrella. Howard is being forced by the Business Council of Australia to address the situation so that Australian business is not locked out of these emerging industries.

Howard's current strategy, so as not to offend his mate Bush, is to demand that Australia, while a non-signatory, gets some sort of seat even as an observer at Kyoto-sponsored events. The signatory nations have basically told us to either sign up or get lost. Such is the legacy that the bloody-minded ideologue, Howard (and who knew that the starch in his shorts was Janette?) is leaving to Australia. Hopefully Rudd will make sure that Australia is not left behind as the rest of the world moves on.

Fiona: For the benefit of the moderator, should there be a question mark after “Janette”?

Questioning Janette

Mais oui, dear moderator.

I am currently reading 'A Woman In Charge', Carl Bernstein's rather wonderful biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I hope someone does the same with Janette Howard. I believe that the two may have much in common.

Fiona: Mille remerciements, cher Roger. She has now become questionable.

How about a link?

L Ferguson: If NSW is on target to meet the (I assume) per capita carbon emission target, then that is only to be welcomed. Unlike Rudd's policy announced today on the (mis)management of Tasmania's forests.

However, a link to Koperberg's speech and documentation would be appreciated. I personally incline to going over anything Koperberg has authored with a 40 power stereo magnifier, just to check any fine print.

He has had his disastrous control-freaking way with the bush fire brigades of NSW.  I await with bated breath to see what further schemozzles he can preside over.

Don't ya just love it!

Howard's environment announcement today:

Steve Irwin wildlife reserve

I welcome the establishment today of an Australian Government wildlife reserve in honour of the life and environmental work of Steve Irwin.

I know Terri Irwin has worked tirelessly to make the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve a reality, and I am proud that my Government could help achieve her dream.

The reserve protects more than 135,000 hectares of high conservation value bushland on Queensland's Cape York, and was established with more than $6 million from the Australian Government's National Reserve System Program.

It is an important addition to Australia's National Reserve System, and is a fitting tribute to a passionate environmentalist and a great Australian.

The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is the 301st property my Government has helped add to the National Reserve System, and it builds on our significant progress to date.

Under my Government's stewardship, Australia's network of protected areas has grown by more than 40 per cent. Reserves now cover more than 11 per cent of the Australian continent, protecting more than 88 million hectares of our most distinctive and fragile landscapes.

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