Monday, May 25, 2009

Thankfully Melbourne has The Age, but....

In visits to Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane in recent times I have become appalled at the lack of a 'critical' broadsheet in those cities - and appreciate why there is so little real engagement with the global issues of the day by many in these states. The Murdoch press, present in all Australia's cities, does little to provide anything other than a reactionary perspective (except for the odd journalist).

Take for example the excellent articles by Paul Krugman and Paddy Manning in The Age on Monday 18th May. Krugman makes the valid points that 'China will have to help save the planet' and that when 'the US and other advanced countries finally move to confront climate change, they will also be morally empowered to confront those nations that refuse to act'. He is right- but he and others will have to be vigilant in the face of those who might be seen to act, but actually do nothing. Australia is likely to be a case in point.

On this note, despite the many strengths of The Age, it is a great pity it did not have a full, wrap-around colour display of the 5000 or so people who sent a very clear message, in the form of a 350 m sign, to Canberra from St Kilda beach.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Labour architect attacks government for failing to convince public on climate change urgency:

'Anthony Giddens and Lord Stern have made recent major attacks on Government Policy. The latter has very sensibly criticised Heathrow and Kingsnorth decisions and Anthony Giddens calls for 'revolution in attitudes to politics'.'

I am grateful for John Colvin to alerting me to these posts, if for no other reason than they reflect some positive signs - and signs of an awakening 'intelligence' around these issues. Australia is a good case of how we need a 'revolution in attitudes to politics.' The examples, unfortunately are all too obvous:

* being too slow on creating conducive policy and fiscal settings for 'green infrastructure' (both 'soft' and 'hard') innovation;

being caught out by US policy moves - e.g emissions limits on cars; secret deals with China on positioning for climate change talks;

* the indefensible $12 billion of subsidies being handed out to big carbon-polluting industries.

Australia's policies seem well designed to create a 'backwater' nation as others gather momentum to do what has to be done.
A meaningful response to climate change will depend on the US and China

For some time I have been boring my friends with this claim. It is therefore encouraging to know that the US and China have been engaged in secret negotiations prior to the Copenhagen summit in December.

It is claimed that it "It will be serious. It will be substantive, and it will happen." Let's hope so!