Carlo's Corner: Finally, something Aussies can be truly proud of

Saturday, November 30, 2013
Filipino climate negotiator Yeb Sano spoke about his hometown being destroyed by Super-Typhoon Haiyan.

Finally, Aussie pride is back after a dominant display in a crucial international contest. Sure, our side came in for criticism for aggressive bullying and disrespectful behaviour towards the opposition, but you can't argue with results.

True, this was nothing so crucial to the fate of humanity as an Ashes Test. It was merely the United Nations Warsaw climate talks that ended on November 23 with no agreement for rich nations to severely cut the greenhouse emissions fuelling climate change or offer compensation to poor nations bearing the brunt of its increasingly devastating effects.

But still, it was pretty glorious! “Australian pride is restored”, a joyous Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Blair said on November 25 of the role of our nation's negotiators in ensuring the talks ended in utter failure.

Blair was thrilled that, as scientists record more than 400 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere for the first time in history, “we sent some delegates who quite properly treated the whole exercise as a lark”.

It was quite hilarious, Blair assures us, that some greenie from the Climate Action Network complained the Australian representatives “wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation”, which was meant to agree to action to confront the fact that October was the 344th straight month of above average global temperatures.

“That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in,” said the dirty hippie, presumably before going off on some irrelevant rant about how the unprecedented ice melt is making large parts of Alaska increasingly uninhabitable while also releasing dangerous amounts of methane, which is a far more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The great news just kept coming for Blair, who gleefully reported: “'Their behaviour caused over 130 developing nations to abandon discussions on the controversial issue of climate compensation at 4am,' whined Sophie Yeo of the activist group Responding to Climate Change.”

The Australians' actions were widely condemned. ActionAid International’s Harjeet Singh commented: “The Australians were behaving like high school boys in class, their behaviour was rude and disrespectful.”

“With all due respect,” Blair responded, the “UN can shove it”.

Blair gave no indication, though, on how our representatives behaved during the November 11 speech by Filipino climate negotiator Yeb Sano, who spoke as his own hometown, Tacloban, was destroyed by Super-Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the strongest storm on record to ever hit land.

Sano made his tearful appeal for serious action by rich nations, and climate compensation for the poor, while dead bodies floated down the streets in Tacloban.

Sano said: “Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms ... the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.”

Now presumably Sano hadn't even bothered to look up Wikipedia, therefore being unaware that the Philippines has always been affected by typhoons, before he shamefully politicised the unprecedented natural disaster devastating his homeland by daring to connect it to climate change.

But it got worse. Sano actually had the gall to say to climate sceptics, “I dare them to get off their ivory towers and away from the comfort of their armchairs” and go see the effects of climate change first hand in places such as the Philippines. Really, how dare he talk to Tim Blair like that!

Hopefully, in keeping with their general approach, our representatives did us proud by interrupting with chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!” and “Sano's a wanker!”

Blair finished his celebration of Australia's role at Warsaw with a story about a group of Aussie meat workers who dealt with animal rights protesters who had chained themselves to their plant by verbally abusing them, then endangering their safety by using angle grinders on the chains.

Blair suggested: “If ever we send further delegations to climate talks, these boys should lead the way.”

That's not a bad idea, but why not go one better and send the Australian cricket team?

Had they been there this time, when Sano shed tears describing how he still did not know which of his friends and family had survived the super-typhoon, David Warner could have jumped up and denounced his speech as “pretty poor and pretty weak” and mocked him for negotiating with “scared eyes”.

And when Somali youth climate activist Marian Osman addressed the summit on November 21, just days after her country was also devastated by a powerful cyclone, and said, “As any one of the thousands who are in need in Somalia and the Philippines this week could tell you, no amount of political stalling can hide the fact that a climate crisis is here”, Michael Clarke could have walked past, muttering “get ready for a fucking broken arm” in her ear.

And then, when the boys successfully scuttled any hope humanity might have had of a serious commitment to drastically cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that industrialised nations such as Australia are overwhelmingly responsible for, they could've leapt on the tables, beers in hand, and launched into the Aussie team's famous victory song: “Under the Southern Cross I stand, a sprig of wattle in my hand, a native of my native land, Australia you fucking beauty!

From GLW issue 991