Climate challenge missed by Coalition howlers
Momentum is a fundamental concept in both physics and politics.
It’s a concept climate change skeptics like Barnaby Joyce just don’t get.
As Penny Wong and Greg Combet shepherd the sensible people in the Australian Parliament towards a bipartisan agreement on a CPRS, Barnaby is still out there howling at the moon to his diehard audience of deniers.
While Barnaby and his wolf pack grow more and more rabid, the global political climate is changing – and it’s not in their favour.
Over the last week in Singapore and Beijing, in multilateral and bilateral negotiations the big players have come together to hammer out an agreement.
Barack Obama’s trip to China has seen the world’s two biggest emitters talking targets.
As Kevin Rudd explained this week we are now working towards an operational framework agreement which would become the basis of a legally binding international agreement in the future.
Australia’s intention is for this framework agreement to specify targets, commitments, the scientific threshold of 2 degrees Celsius, climate change finance, and technology transfer.
Our Prime Minister is in the thick of it – exercising his considerable diplomatic skills to help land a deal.
In less than three weeks the eyes of the world will turn to Copenhagen to see what final form this agreement takes.
At that moment the oxygen will instantly be sucked out of Barnaby’s vacuous sideshow.
In Australia, the political debate over a CPRS is moving inexorably towards a conclusion.
Principled Liberals have laid their cards on the table.
Senator Sue Boyce says that the legislation should be passed.
“I am convinced by the overwhelming scientific evidence that the damage that is being caused may well not be reversed if we do nothing – if we simply just wait and watch and warm.” (Senator Boyce Media Release, 18 November)
Good on her. It takes guts to stand up to bully-boys like Barnaby, Nick Minchin and co.
Smart Liberals have also felt the winds of change and have indicated they’ll back their leader and vote for the CPRS.
In all only seven out of 32 Liberal Senators need to cross the floor (or run to the bathroom – whichever works for them.)
Hopefully the colleagues of the Parliament’s chief conspiracy theorist Nick Minchin will mount a real conspiracy against him to give themselves a vote on the bill before the parliament rises. (Minchin is obviously convinced CPRS actually stands for Communist Party Revival Scheme.)
Under the circumstances it will be interesting to see how long the minor parties and independents in the Senate will be able to maintain their opposition to the CPRS.
I look forward to hearing the Greens explanation to the electorate if they decide to vote against what is probably the most significant piece of environmental legislation ever put before an Australian Parliament. We’ll see next week how the cross-benchers react when the heat is on.
In the meanwhile stay tuned for more baying at the moon by barking-mad Barnaby.
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