Kamala Emanuel

“Renewables now!”, “Leave coal in the ground”, “No carbon trading loopholes!”, “Expand public transport” and “Keep power in public hands” will be the key demands of a climate emergency rally to be held at Darling Harbour in Sydney on October 2, just days after Ross Garnaut is to deliver his final report on recommendations for Australia’s response to climate change.
A flurry of public meetings followed the federal government’s green paper on carbon emissions trading. I attended two quite different information sessions in Sydney.
Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in the Northern summer of 2007, prompting the revision of scientists’ predictions of how quickly it will melt away altogether in response to global warming — perhaps as early as 2010-13, rather than the hundred years later estimated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
The April 11-13 Climate Change/Social Change conference being organised in Sydney by Green Left Weekly aims to promote recognition that radical social change is necessary to solve the global climate crisis. This is a crisis that at threatens to make the Earth uninhabitable for the vast majority of humans and other species.
The world is teetering on the brink of unstoppable climate change. Many now recognise the need for serious change in the way we produce and use energy, our transport systems, food production, urban design and forestry practices. Yet politicians are still mouthing platitudes while allowing corporations to continue to profit from polluting our atmosphere and destroying our ecosystem.
Although it was silent on the issue during the state elections, the NSW Labor government led by Premier Morris Iemma is canvassing plans to privatise large sections of state utilities including the rail network, the electricity grid and Sydney’s ferries. The privatisation scheme is necessary, according to the government, to raise funds in order to reduce the budget deficit and pay for improvements in NSW hospitals and schools, and upgrades to the Sydney highways, as well as produce greater efficiency in public transport.
November 11’s national Walk Against Warming was an important initiative for the climate change movement. It was smaller than the 100,000 people organisers had hoped for, but the fact that tens of thousands joined the biggest political demonstration of the election period confirms the opinion poll findings that climate change is a grave concern for large numbers of people.
The message of the new CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology report to the Australian Climate Change Science Program, Climate Change in Australia, couldn’t be simpler: Stop fiddling while Australia burns!
On September 23, federal environment minister Malcolm Turnbull and industry and resources minister Ian Macfarlane announced a new national “clean energy target”.
On July 17, PM John Howard’s climate change policy was released amidst great fanfare. For most of his political career, Howard has denied the link between climate change and human industry, and the threat that it poses to the planet and society. Now the scientific evidence is irrefutable he has changed tack, and is promoting “solutions” to the climate change threat that avoid threatening the profits of the polluting corporations.
Rest in peace, carbon profits, bathed in blood. Before you drown us in your flood, we will rise to bury you. Tremble in fear, carbon merchants, profiteers. You refuse to lift Earth's shroud, your carbon mushroom cloud. A people's fire
Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change
By Clive Hamilton
Black Inc. Agenda, 2007.
266 pages, $29.95 (pb)
“We know more about energy policy than the government does … We know where every skeleton in the closet is — most of them we buried”, boasted a member of the self-described “greenhouse mafia”, a group of lobbyists comprising the executive directors of the coal, oil, cement, aluminium, mining and electricity industries, said Clive Hamilton, executive director of the Australia Institute.

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