Analysis

The following call to action has been issued by the Adelaide-based Stop the War Fair committee.
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.
Internationally, as in Australia, governments forced to promise climate change action have generally promoted market-based carbon abatement schemes, mostly of the “cap and trade” variety. But can we trade our way out of our climate difficulties? Can market mechanisms deal with a problem of such scale and urgency?
The following call for a national week of protest action, beginning September 21, was issued by the July 5 Climate Emergency Rally organising committee in Melbourne, and endorsed by the August 2 Climate Justice seminar.
The export of coal is an important issue for climate campaigners to consider. Australia exports more carbon dioxide in the form of coal than its entire domestic emissions of the gas.
The Australian Workers Union has many members in the aluminium refining and smelting industry, which accounted for 45.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 (7.9% of Australia’s total). Obviously, such a major greenhouse polluter — the dirtiest for every dollar of value added — has to be radically restructured if carbon emissions are to be cut to sustainable levels.
A French court has denied a woman citizenship because she wears a burqa — a veil covering the entire body — according to a July 11 Reuters report.
The July 24 Sydney Morning Herald reported Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing that rents across Sydney had increased by 8% over the 2007-08 financial year, almost twice the rate of inflation.
Refugee activists have welcomed the July 29 announcement by federal immigration minister Chris Evans to significantly dismantle Australia’s policy of mandatorily detaining refugees. They noted, however, that while the changes represent an important victory for the movement for refugee rights, the struggle is not yet over.
Former PM John Howard’s blandly named Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) remains under PM Kevin Rudd. It is prosecuting Victorian vice-president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Noel Washington, who faces six months’ jail for not answering questions about a union meeting.

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