Apologies in advance to those with fixed views on a carbon tax. It is time the majority of Australians had a say. Well over half of us have shifted from supporting carbon pricing leading into Copenhagen to now opposing. In early 2008, my seat of Bowman had the highest carbon trading scepticism of seats polled by the Climate Institute; at 16 per cent. It now runs at nearly 70 per cent and it helps to remember why.
Let’s deal with the shame issue up front. Most Australians have little interest in national shame, be it border policies, the apology, shame about our live exports or the fact we mine and smelt.
Most Aussies are tired of being told by the elite we should be ashamed of our per capita emissions. We don’t leave our vehicles on in the garage at night. Our emissions correlate perfectly with our wealth, our energy intense export profile and that with the world’s second lowest population density; we travel further. I see no shame in that
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There is a great line in the Dan Brown novel, Angels & Demons, when Robert Langdon is speaking with the Camerlengo in the Vatican regarding the existence of God.
Langdon says, as an academic, he’ll never understand God, and his heart says he’s not meant to. Without wanting to be too melodramatic, this sums up my feelings towards climate change.
To be frank, I’d love to believe in climate change. It’s a popular idea, and it’s one that, if you can discuss it using lots of long-winded terminology, you can often sound very intelligent.
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Whatever happened to the grand promoter of the great big ETS tax – Prime Minister Rudd? Channel 9 said it cost $1.4 million to take 68 people to Copenhagen.
What was the cost of the remainder of the 114 that actually went?
Up to Copenhagen the great tax advocates were Mr Rudd and Senator Wong who have suddenly gone very quiet and given all the running to junior Minister Peter Garrett.
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Copenhagen certainly was the right place to hold the biggest cocktail party of the 21st century - otherwise known as the Climate Summit.
After all it was the home of Hans Christian Andersen who wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in 1837. It is truly a suitable parable.
In the story we had swindlers posing as weavers and convincing the Emperor that they could “manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined ……but the clothes made of their material possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.”
The swindlers in the Andersen Tale demanded large sums of money in advance and asked for (and got) “the finest silk and the most precious gold cloth” and worked at empty looms until late at night.
In Copenhagen the attendees certainly got lots of money in advance and lived in great luxury.
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“Doth protest too much”. The ageless quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet comes to mind when assessing world leaders response to the Copenhagen climate conference.
Lashings of praise have been heaped upon the Copenhagen Accord from Obama, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Kevin Rudd and other world leaders. It has been described as a “meaningful agreement”, “a great step forward” and “significant and positive”.
What would an agreement deserving of this kind of praise look like? The world needs a comprehensive global response that will deliver a safe climate, that is a minimally change climatic system that can support humanity to meet our needs.
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If anyone is looking forward to the Christmas break it must be Kevin Rudd. The Prime Minister who created a narrative about his administration that it’s the can-do team on climate change has had the two biggest ticket items, the ETS and Copenhagen, all but fall over in less than a month.
While neither were strictly his doing (he was in the US when Tony Abbott nabbed the Liberal leadership and killed off a deal on the ETS), the Prime Minister had placed himself at the centre of both, no doubt confident a victory on either would be a huge political win.
He calls the outcome of the closing days in Copenhagen “frustrating”. I imagine that’s just the tip of the melting iceberg for how he really feels. And now Mr Rudd needs to work out how to take an issue that until six weeks ago was a political bonus for him and stop it turning into a political nightmare. And he’d better do it quickly.
Tony Abbott wasted no time yesterday framing the debate from here on. He told Sunday Agenda: “Look, I suppose good intentions are better than nothing, but Mr Rudd has failed his own test. He said a couple of years ago that what we needed to get were real targets against real timelines. He said, real progress means real targets against real timelines, and certainly by that standard it’s been a comprehensive failure.”
It was the words “his own test” that rammed home the point. At Copenhagen Kevin Rudd went from “friend of the chair” to the guy waiting outside the room when the three-page non-binding “meaningful” agreement was struck.
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The collapse in Copenhagen shows the power of the polluters over the politicians.
The oil coal and big resource companies put off the day of action and edged the world further into super-heating. That means worse drought, bushfires, snow- melt, tropical storm damage and accelerating sea level rises.
Penny Wong has blamed the failure to reach consensus in Copenhagen on a few “radical nations” like Venezuela and Uganda. But tiny Tuvalu has also championed real action on climate change by calling the promise of money, in return for agreement on inaction, “thirty silver coins” from the rich countries.
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It’s snowing here in Copenhagen, as leaders feel the heat over climate change.
In the winter gloom, the flashing lights of police motorcades snake through the city. Is it Obama, Gordon Brown, or Kevin Rudd? It’s certainly not the President of the tiny, vulnerable Maldives, the shock troops of rising sea levels.
Walkouts by developing nations, angry clashes between protesters and police, people dressed as polar bears, Greenpeace ships moored in the canal not far from The Little Mermaid statue, business leaders selling wind power, electric vehicles, even shoes with recycled rubber soles.
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Yes, the Australian Government might have flown a few AFL teams worth of people to Copenhagen in a big stinking jet plane for the Climate Change summit but rest assured, Penny Wong is “actively encouraging” them to catch public transport while they’re there. So you can stop the ironic groans now thanks very much.
While this gesture of carbon reduction behaviour is commendable, The Punch can’t help worrying about the “baggage officer”, who’ll be ferrying bits of luggage all over Princess Mary’s home town, presumably on the Copenhagen Metro (his/her plight was first brought to out attention by @GregAtkinson_jp on Twitter).
Hopefully Senator Wong also “actively encouraged” the delegates to pack light. You know, two pairs of undies - one on, one slung over the hotel shower rack after you’ve hand washed them in the sink.
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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd does not have Parliament’s support for a climate-change deal to take to Copenhagen but he does have his valet as support.
The Australian media are reporting that Australia’s contingent at the Copenhagen climate-change conference will be the nation’s biggest ever diplomatic delegation.
The Prime Minister’s staff alone will total twenty-four including advisers, media staff, translators, security and most importantly the valet. Why would the Prime Minister need a valet? Well there will be 15,000 delegates and 70 world leaders in attendance and Mr Rudd hopes to make visible impression on this world stage.
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IF YOUR job involves one of Australia’s major export industries such as mining or manufacturing, then you probably return home to your family content in the knowledge you are being well paid for a hard day’s work.
You help build the profits that keep the shareholders happy and you are making a valuable contribution to your nation’s economy.
But what if you came home from a hot day at the coal face, the aluminium or steel smelter, to kids accusing you of killing off the planet? That would never happen, right?
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Developments in computer hacking, Australian politics, and an acrimonious meeting in Denmark have produced the unlikely result that climate change is now almost as hot a conversation topic as Tiger Woods’s sex life.
With our ready-reckoner guide to global warming barneys, you too can have a circular argument in which all facts are disputable and no insult is too cutting when climate change comes up in the pub, at a barbecue or during tea and biscuits at your next Liberal Party branch meeting.
And best of all, there are no losers because by the time the arguments are proved or disproved either way we’ll all be dead.
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Just hours ago printers started running wild in Copenhagen with the leaking of tightly held negotiating text that rich countries have been writing. In summary: it’s bad news for the climate – but the good news is it’s far from locked in. There is no mention of the 25-40% reductions that scientists say are required, and nothing is legally binding.
For some time now a small group of rich nations, known as the ‘commitment circle’ have been meeting in secret to develop their version of what the Copenhagen Agreement should look like.
The text is designed to be a basis for the high level negotiations that begin next week, and is seen by developing nations as an attempt by rich nations to bully them into signing a weak deal that calls for sacrifices from the poor while locking in higher emission rights for countries that contributed most to creating the problem of climate change.
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The second day of the UN Climate Conference is wrapping up on a dynamic and explosive note. A few hours ago the Guardian revealed a leaked the “Danish text” a secret alternative text thought to be created by the Danes, Americans and British.
The text provoked a furious reaction from many nations due to its significant departure from the principles of the Kyoto Protocol and potential to undermine the existing UN process. In particular, concern has centred on the omission of the principle that wealthy countries, who have benefited from emitting, must compensate poorer countries who have contributed the least to the problem but stand to be dramatically effected.
After the leak surfaced there was a spontaneous and powerful protest in the corridors of the United Nations by African youth and civil society delegates.
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IF climate change really represents a threat to our civilisation comparable to the Nazis than it is time for us to stop backing off in half-hearted surrender and instead tell Mother Nature to shove it.
Recently in arguing against the “disaster track” of a Copenhagen UN compromise agreement on reducing emissions, NASA scientist James Hansen - in many ways the granddaddy of climate change theory - said global warming should be treated like an evil enemy.
“This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill,” Hansen said. How did Winston Churchill and more broadly the Allied powers defeat the Nazis and their Axis partners?
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I arrived in Copenhagen, usually a pretty, peaceful Danish city on Thursday. As the Copenhagen Climate Conference has approached – starting tomorrow morning – a tension has been building in the air. It feels like the calm before a storm, when the wind begins to whip up and you can just feel something coming in the air. Walking around the city there are accents from across the world, posters displaying climate change events, protests and technologies, and groups of people closely discussing and speculating.
Over the weekend I have been participating in the 3rd Annual Conference of Youth attended by approximately 1000 youth from over 150 countries.
The youth movement has been growing exponentially over the last few years – in Australia the Australian Youth Climate Coalition has grown ten fold from 5000 to 50,000 in one year – and this is beginning to represented at the United Nations with a large youth presence at these negotiations.
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Editor’s note: Malcolm Turnbull has a huge fight on his hands this Sunday when the Coalition has an extraordinary party room meeting to decide whether to negotiate with the Rudd Government on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Kevin Andrews is one of many Liberals who, contrary to Mr Turnbull, think the Bill should at least be delayed until after Copenhagen.
Let me pose a simple question about the ETS. By how much will the price of a litre of milk and a loaf of bread increase once the ETS is introduced?
And let me give you the simple answer: No-one knows! But increase in price they will, because Mr Rudd’s ETS is a tax on everything.
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Over the years many have proclaimed the Kyoto Protocol “dead” and once again media reports are starting to suggest the imminent demise of this international climate change treaty and a new Australian compromise.
Clearly the protocol is not yet dead as its binding pollution reduction targets for most industrialised countries remain in force until the end of 2012. However as negotiations have intensified in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate summit in December, the treaty’s future has become increasingly uncertain.
Behind the headlines about targets, technology transfers and finance for developing countries, a profound discussion on the “legal form” of the new agreement is occurring. This dominated recent talks held in Washington D.C. attended by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.
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The scene: White House situation room - a pre-Copenhagen briefing
The agenda: the ice caps are melting, China and India don’t seem to care, oh, and at 12.18am AEST the bells on Sydney Town Hall will ring. Things are getting serious.
You’ve got to love local councils. In the spirit of that rash of “Nuclear-free zone” signs that went up in LGAs all over Australia in the 1980’s, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore this morning said the bells above her office would be sounded as part of an effort to remind world leaders of the importance of reaching a deal on climate change at the up-coming Copenhagen summit.
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