Editorial

Green Left Weekly will soon be sending Vivien Messimeris and Dick Nichols (our European correspondent) to Athens to report on the historic January 25 Greek elections, which could result in the election of the Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, to government on a strong program opposing the ruthless austerity imposed by the big global bankers on Greece.
The huge, genuine and spontaneous outpouring of grief that has enveloped Venezuela in the days since Hugo Chavez passed away on March 5 show that the late Venezuelan president was no ordinary politician. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets to accompany Chavez's coffin on its way from the hospital where he died to the military academy where his body is currently lying in state, clad in the red that symbolises the Bolivarian revolution and chanting “the people united will never be defeated”.
Many have taken mining boss Gina Rinehart's bid to take up a seat on Fairfax's board of directors by buying up almost 20% of the media company's shares as a threat to its “independence” and “quality journalism”. But many opponents of Rinehart's bid are glossing over Fairfax's ugly record. A Rinehart-controlled media would do much damage to the possibility of informed public discussions in Australia.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange is right to seek political asylum in Ecuador. He was left with no other choice after the Australian government made clear it would do nothing to prevent his extradition to the United States on espionage charges. His real “crime” is groundbreaking journalism, which has exposed the lies and crimes of governments around the world, especially the US.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire does not have a TV network like Fox News in Australia — at least not yet. But he does have the sole national newspaper, The Australian, which is busy running a Fox News-style smear campaign against the Australian Greens. Anxious at the Greens’ growing electoral success, the paper said in a 2010 editorial that it planned to have the Greens “destroyed”.
Nearly 10 years of a mining boom has made big changes to Australia’s economy and environment. Resource companies have made record profits. This has given Australia’s rich mining billionaires an inflated sense of entitlement. When the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) was proposed we saw Gina Rinehart speaking to an anti-tax rally from the back of a truck along with fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest, who wore a high-visibility work shirt as though he was just another struggling worker.
If you are an activist peacefully campaigning for a clean energy future, the federal Labor government believes you are a legitimate target for secret surveillance. Fairfax News’ Phillip Dorling reported on January 7 that resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson had asked for federal police help to spy on anti-coal campaigners. Even worse, documents released to Fairfax after a Freedom of Information request showed Ferguson acted after urging from coal industry lobbyists.
Debate about the Labor-Greens carbon price has dominated Australian politics for the past year. So it is little surprise that the passing of the carbon price laws through parliament on November 8 received widespread media attention. But the media’s coverage overshadowed two shocking new reports on the climate emergency released in the past week.
See also: Unions respond to lock out: 'This is blackmail' Occupy Sydney supports Qantas workers Unions stand up to Qantas management All of Green Left's extensive Occupy coverage “I don't understand what the Occupy protests are all about,” is one common complaint in response to the global movement against corporate power.
The NSW government was evasive for several days on whether it would allow uranium exploration and mining, banned since 1986. This followed the call by federal resources minister Martin Ferguson in May for NSW and Victoria to rethink their uranium mining bans. Premier Barry O’Farrell and resources minister Chris Hartcher finally said on August 5 they would not overturn the uranium mining ban. In mid-June, Hartcher met the chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association Michael Angwin, who is lobbying to overturn the ban, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
It’s the best news on climate change for years, and you’ve probably not heard about it. Spain’s new Gemasolar power plant produced uninterrupted clean energy all day and all night for the first time on July 3. That’s 24 hours of zero emissions power, here and now. Gemasolar is a concentrated solar thermal power plant. It uses a field of mirrors to concentrate solar radiation in a central tower. What’s new about Gemasolar is that the plant can store solar energy for up to 15 hours. That’s baseload renewable energy, supplied all through the night.
The worst thing about the Labor government’s proposed carbon price scheme is that it’s a diversion from real action on climate change. Few of its supporters say it will deliver significant renewable energy or emissions cuts any more — only that it will “start the process” and complement other measures. See also: Green illusions and the carbon tax Critical Decade report understates climate threat
Climate change is often called the greatest environment threat facing humanity. The threat is very real. Unless we cut carbon pollution fast, runaway climate change will worsen existing environmental and social problems, and create new ones of its own. But it’s no longer enough to simply refer to the climate crisis. Climate change is one part of a broader ecological disaster, brought about by an economic system that relies on constant growth, endless accumulation and ever-deepening human alienation.
The United Nations Security Council voted on March 19 to approve a military intervention into Libya, with 10 votes in favour and five absentions. It was presented as a response to calls from besieged rebels fighting the Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship for a “no-fly zone” to protect them, especially in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The rebels also said they opposed “Western intervention”.
Liberal leader Tony Abbott is a climate change denier. He told a recent meeting in Perth that he still doubted the science of climate change and said: “Whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.” His party’s campaign against the carbon price deal struck between the Labor government, the Greens and independent MPs has one central aim: to undermine public support for strong government action to tackle climate change.
Climate change was a big factor in the devastating floods that swept through Queensland and other states in January. For decades, scientists have warned that carbon pollution will lead to more frequent weather disasters. The floods are yet more evidence that we must quickly phase out fossil fuels and embrace 100% renewable energy. As the flood crisis began to emerge, University of Melbourne climate scientist David Karoly told ABC News on December 31 that the extreme weather was not so unexpected.

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