Thursday, November 16, 2006



The Australian treasurer, Peter Costello, has sheepishly, but finally, admitted that Australian will join the Kyoto Protocol.

They won't sign up, of course, but they will take part, they will ensure carbon emissions meet Kyoto targets and they will officially acknowledge that carbon emissions are adding to the effects of the climate change inducing reality of global warming.

Only hours before the announcement by the treasurer on ABC's Lateline, Australian prime minister, John Howard was still pretending that he was one tough negotiator when it came to this global warming business, and it was in fact he that was insisting that rapidly growing, mass-industrialised nations like India and China do something about their emissions for the sake of future generations.

It was all pure Howard theatre. China was one of the first countries in the world to join a then experimental carbon credit trading system, more than four years, when Howard was still smirking and snorting about environmentalists and the dreaded Greeeennnsss, mocking them all for having panic fits about something called global warming.

After years of insulting the Europeans over their insistence that the Kyoto Protocol must be taken seriously, and that countries like Australia need to get on board, the harsh reality has well and truly dawned on the money men of the Australian government that they are about to miss out, bigstyle, on becoming part of the new unofficial world currency known as 'carbon trading credits'.

It doesn't even matter anymore whether John Howard believes global warming is a reality, or if he acknowledges that rapid industrialisation using coal as a key energy source (Australia's leading export industry) is adding to the problems. Most of the rest of the world has well and truly left skeptics like Howard far, far behind.

Which is why Howard, five to eight years late, is rushing to catch up.

Australian environmentalists, and climate scientists, are still shaking their heads in disbelief that John Howard has so quickly taken up the mantra of "Something must be done about global warming".

All this comes, of course, after the Howard government spent years trying to block the truth from emerging out of Australia's leading scientific body, the CSIRO, about climate change and the dire long-term environmental, and economic, effects of global warming.

Howard has an agenda, and that agenda is using the reality of global warming to push for the rapid and massive expansion of nuclear power as an alternative energy source.

Australia is already one of the world's leaders when it comes to mining uranium. Howard wants Australia to become the world leader for uranium exports. a market worth, literally, hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Austraila's reputation as an international pariah, thanks to a decade of near inactivity on the key issues of climate change, will take many years, and probably a change of government, to shake off.

Short of two or three Australians cities getting bombed, global warming will be a far more important issue at the 2007 federal elections than international terrorism, or the 'War On Iraq'. Howard knows this, of course. He will flog global warming to death, regardless of whether or not he believes it is an economy shredding reality. Most Australians believe, so Howard does too. Now.

Go To Your New Reality For The Full Story

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