Carlo's Corner: Mining giants whine as climate threat grows

March 9, 2012
Graphic that says 'We the corporate citizens united'.
Everyone knows that when you want to be serious about imposing your will and, say, bring down a prime minister, you throw at lea

Sometimes it takes a truly dramatic event to really make you face up to a serious threat.

It was not that I was unaware of the danger of already occurring climate change, but it was still a shock when the Essendon Football Club had to cancel its game against St Kilda, scheduled for Wangaratta on March 3, when the team's plane couldn't land in the extreme weather.

As a result, the Bombers forfeited four points in the NAB Cup. I just thanked Christ it was only the pre-season.

But is it really possible to pin the blame for the extreme weather that flooded large sections of New South Wales on climate change?

Climate scientists point out it is nearly impossible to blame any single weather event for climate change, but emphasise evidence strongly suggests the changing climate is making extreme weather events more frequent and worse.

The effects of climate change are being felt in other ways too. On March 9, the Sydney Morning Herald reported: “The Pacific nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji so it can move islanders under threat from rising sea levels, in what could be the first climate-induced relocation of a country.”

It is true Kiribati doesn't have an AFL team, so at least the move won't disrupt the home-and-away season. But still, the forced relocation of all 113,000 people living in one of the world's poorest nations seems a harsh consequence of a global crisis they had little to do with causing.

Unless scientists reveal previously unknown evidence that a key cause of runaway climate change is carbon emissions from Kiribati's main exports of coconut extracts and fish, then an entire nation is literally going under thanks to the economic activity of others.

Others, such as Australia's large mining giants, dedicated to ripping resources from the ground to feed the global fossil-fuel driven economy, are not quite so guiltless.

It is in this context that we were subjected to hysterical whining by mining companies and the corporate media about leaked details of a Greenpeace plan seeking to raise $6 million to fund its campaign against the dramatic expansion of Australia's coal and gas mining industry.

Australia exports more coal than anywhere else in the world, making the mining industry responsible for a fair portion of the carbon emissions about to drown Kiribati.

But such inconvenient facts didn't stop demands to strip Greenpeace of its charity status. A group is developing a campaign to try to save the planet? Quick, for fuck's sake, somebody stop them now before they do any real good!

Greenpeace's campaign is obviously unprecedented. I mean, try to imagine the mining giants putting together $6 million to try to impose their will on the nation. You just couldn't -- as if they would waste their time with that loose change?

Everyone knows that when you want to be serious about imposing your will and, say, bring down a prime minister, you throw at least $22 million into the war chest.

Not that I would dare suggest mining giants have undue influence.

Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer was so incensed by Wayne Swan's allegations along those lines, he got the SMH to give him an opinion piece to respond.

Whining that Swan “attacks me for being undemocratic”, Palmer defended himself on March 5 by claiming: “I truly believe in democracy and accepting the people's will.”

I can imagine a tearful Palmer calling his mum to complain about such outrageous bullying, to which Mrs Palmer responds: “Is that nasty Mr Swanny being mean to you again, darling? I know, sweetie, why don't you run off and do another one of those multi-million dollar ad campaigns till they sack him — that always cheers you up.”

Tackling head on Swan's undemocratic exercise in saying what he thinks, Palmer answered firmly: “We have in this country respect for freedom of speech.”

Yes, mining giants can buy a paper or TV station with which to freely shout their views to the nation. And we are equally free to shout at the TV in fury at such views.

Their shouts scare the government, ours scare the cat. So as you can see, we are all equal.

And, therefore, in defence of this equality, mining giants like Palmer must be allowed to continue, unhindered, destroying our planet for a buck. It makes total sense.

Read more Carlo's Corner columns.

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