Thousands of people will read Green Left Weekly for the first time this week. You may be one of these first-time readers. If so, chances are you will have picked up a copy at one of the large Walk Against Warming marches being held all around Australia on the weekend of November 10-11.
With so many of us marching for urgent action on the climate change crisis, you'd think that surely the new federal government elected on November 24 will be forced to deliver. With the overwhelming scientific confirmation that we have to shift now to renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, to invest in public transport and move to a zero-waste economy, you'd think that the politicians would stop fiddling while Rome burns. But history tells us that it will take more to bring about fundamental change.
It is not hard to work out the reason for this. The great majority in society may want some urgent action on climate change but a rich and powerful minority are worried about their profits.
Ten years ago, when the US and Australia scuttled the Kyoto Protocol, Sharon Beder, Paul Brown and John Vidal wrote in the October 29, 1997 British Guardian: "The champagne corks are popping in the boardrooms of BP, Shell, Esso, Mobil, Ford, General Motors, and the coal, steel and aluminium corporations of the US, Australia and Europe. Last week's announcement by President Clinton that realistic targets and timetables for cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be put off for 20 years has effectively maintained corporate business as usual …
"For a decade now, the fossil fuel industries in the US, Australia and Europe have led a vicious and ever more intense campaign to prevent any treaty being signed that involves greenhouse gas reduction targets.
"It has taken billions of pounds of coordinated lobbying effort and media manipulation by some of the world's largest corporations, PR companies, legal teams and think-tanks. As more and more scientific evidence emerged that global warming was not just happening but that it was [human]-induced, the intention was to systematically subvert science and the political process.
"The public has had little appreciation of the epic struggle to deny science. It was only last month, when a US consortium of 20 organisations launched a 10 million pound campaign of TV ads designed to scupper the climate treaty with dire warnings that jobs would be lost and taxes would rise if a meaningful treaty went ahead, that it really surfaced."
Ten years later it may seem that some of the corporate-funded global warming denialists have had a conversion. Almost everyone seems to concede that global warming is a fact but the fossil-fuel lobby is simply changing tack. Hence the oxymoron "clean coal" and the continued prevarication over binding emission reduction targets.
The battle for the interest and wishes of the great majority to prevail over corporate greed has to go on, and Green Left Weekly plays a very important role in this political struggle. Each week this paper and its online version http://www.greenleft.org.au takes the arguments for fundamental social change to thousands of people. It reports on the campaigns of activists for the environment, social justice and workplace rights and helps these activists network and organise.
GLW is a very special project and it all runs on a shoestring and with mostly volunteer energy. You can become part of this project.
First, become a subscriber for as little as $10 for a seven week introductory subscription.
Second, volunteer to write or photograph or draw cartoon for GLW, help us produce and/or distribute this publication.
Third, make a donation to GLW's $250,000 fighting fund for 2007 or help organise a local fundraising event. We have already raised $180,459 through donations and numerous fundraisers (see calendar on page 23 for details of the next event near you). We need your help to raise the remaining $69,541 by the end of this year.
You can contribute in any or all of the three ways mentioned above by calling us on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia only).
You can also directly deposit a donation at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992. Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, or donate online at http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm.