Huge Majority Of Australians More Concerned About Effects Of Climate Change
75% Reject Government's Plans To Beat Global Warning With Nuclear Power
Can John Howard now re-brand himself as a climate change-fearing, tree-stroking environmentalist who smacks around Australian corporations for not doing enough to fight global warming?
More importantly, can he undertake and complete this re-branding in time for the late 2007 federal election?
A stunning new poll reveals that this is exactly what Howard will have to do if he wants to cruise to victory.
Australians simply don't trust Howard, according to the poll, when he talks about the environment and climate change. They believe, for the most part, in the reality of global warming and climate change.
Not as a theory, but as a harsh New Reality.
But they don't believe that Howard believes in it like they do.
At least, they don't believe he has become a true believer. Not like they have.
They think he's spouting spin, and that he's only now appearing concerned because this is what the polls are telling him he must do.
These poll results clearly indicate that Australia's are deeply suspicious of their leader, and they're seriously concerned about the future. A future that they no longer believe John Howard will do his best to protect and take care of, for the generations of Australians to come.
So not only does Howard have to undergo a re branding from global warming sceptic to true believer, he must also be seen to undergo a Green Values conversion of monumental magnitude.
Plus, his political spin machine will have to completely repackage almost his entire slate of environment, energy and climate change-related policies if he is going to sell John 'New Green' Howard successfully to the Australian public.
And he's got less than ten months to get all that done.
This is going to be one seriously entertaining election.
I'll throw out a theory here that I have a feeling will gain a lot of ground in the coming months. I look forward to being proved completely wrong, but I doubt it :
Australians aged from 30 to 80 are no longer concerned about themselves. They think they're doing okay. They're not overly troubled about their finances or interest rates. They been made to feel financially secure, for the most part.
They don't fear interest rate rises, or losing their homes to economic upsets. They're not overly worried about losing their jobs and then not being able to find another one.
But what really freaks them out, what really sends the ice-shivers of fear up their spine is when they look at their kids, or their grandkids, and they think about the future that lies in wait for them. A dark future, where the wild and freakish weather is the greatest, most dangerous, most deadly enemy of all.
Far more dangerous, far more deadly, in fact, than any terror attack.
They believe, for the most part, that climate change is real, they can see it happening all around them. State wide fires and endless droughts and freezing mornings that melt into blistering afternoons.
They believe that the effects of global warming are going to spell out some m-a-j-o-r d-o-om for their kids and their grandkids.
And they don't believe Howard is capable of facing that still vastly mysterious threat and defeating it. Or at least, they don't believe Howard will do what needs to be done to fight back the onslaught of severe climate change as hard as he can.
It won't be fear of terror or a widening Christian Vs Muslim world war, or nervousness about interest rate rises, or paranoia about economic devastation, or gut-grinding dismay about getting screwed over in the workplace that will determine their voting choice come election day.
It will be a general Fear Of The Future, spawned primarily of their concerns for the next generation and alive with near daily confirmation that a severe climate change -induced Hell on Earth is rapidly becoming the New Reality.
A New Reality that the prime minister, and his government, appears unable and uninterested in effecting some dramatic change to stop it dead in its tracks.
Howard must be wondering what the hell has happened to his country. How did everyone get so caught up in all this climate change business? Like an all consuming new religion, climate change terror has devoured the commonsense and dirt-standard distrust that most Australians once had for nearly all things connected with environmentalism, and conservationism.
It's Howard's worst nightmare in blinding neon : The Greenies Were Right. And Most Of Australia Now Knows It.
Howard must be shaking his head in shuddering disbelief about how once such deeply-embedded scepticism of all the major 'Green Issues' has melted faster than an Greenland glacier into mass acceptance.
Australians never used to believe in global warming. It was smelly hippie-enviro-leftytrash-
But that was then, as they say. And this is now.
Australians have become true believers. Passionate ones.
Perhaps worst of all, this is not Howard's territory. It's so far out of his traditional stomping grounds he can't even get the boots to fit his feet.
Howard's hopeless at the long-term vision thing, particularly when it involves the detailed construction of a brighter tomorrow. He's a salesman, not a prophet. A huckster, not a futurist. A white-knuckle gambler who's run out of chips and can't hock his pants to match the bets now on the table.
He has traded on fear and paranoia for a solid decade, refusing to acknowledge mistakes of the past, and point-blank ignoring the dangerous possibilities that were always lying in wait around the next corner on the Prosperity Highway.
Global Warming? Climate Change? Carbon trading credits?
What the fuck?
Howard never wanted to know about all that Green Future paraphernalia. He certainly never thought he would have to start spouting it, let alone debating it.
He just wanted to get good seats at the cricket, and move in the kinds of social circles that he would never have gotten anywhere near if he hadn't become prime minister of the greatest country on the planet.
It used to be so easy for Howard. All he had to do was freak the public out about all the evil terrorists who were trying to smuggle themselves into Australia disguised as asylum seekers so they could blow themselves up at the footy grand final.
But these poll results reveal that, despite the daily tabloid-talkback media trumpeting about the imminent explosive threat of Muslim terrorists in our midst, the number one global issue that raises the most worries and concerns with Australians is climate change.
It trumps fears about terrorism, immigration, you name it.
Some 75% of respondents told pollsters that they were now paying close attention to the issues of climate change, in a personal way. Meaning they were choosing to walk instead of drive, where possible, and were looking into alternative energy. For starters.
They believe that John Howard should sign up to the Kyoto Protocols licketysplit, and go one better. He should come up with a new plan of reining in climate change that will leave the current carbon-emission targets for dead.
But the poll results also reveal a most curious, and fascinating, anomaly. More than than half of all Australians believe that other Australians are "poorly informed" about climate change and global warming.
The anomaly is described in this story as "mass public confusion" about the relevant issues.
But some three out of four Australians are not confused about nuclear energy. They don't want it. Full stop. And they don't believe that rolling out nuclear reactors across the country is the solution to stopping global warming, or meeting the future energy needs of Australia's air-conditioners.
The distrust the Australian public feels about the government's views and actions on global warming are palpable.
And a stunning 82% of respondents don't believe that Australian businesses will do the right thing, or will take the necessary action required to stop global warming, unless they are forced to do so.
You can take it as gold standard then that the majority of Australians do not believe Howard will push businesses to make the emissions cuts required of them.
John Howard has invested an enormous amount of energy in the past year in trying to sell himself as a leader concerned about the environment, about global warming and climate change, and as someone who understands the public's growing concern about the crippling drought, the ferocious storms and the chilling onset of water shortages.
Howard has tried to flog himself as new and improved, and suddenly enlightened, but he has failed spectacularly.
And then there's the Australian public's changing views on the Iraq War, the torture-dosed imprisonment of an Australian citizen by our American allies, the general future of our alliance with the United States and John Howard's ceaseless echoing of President Bush's talking points and endless support for BushCo.'s 'War on Terror'.
But that discussion will have to wait for another day...
On issues relating to the environment, climate change and global warming alone, Howard's exit is coming up fast. You can see it already, just ahead, on the Left.
Go Here For The Full Story On How Australians Now Fear Climate Change More Than Terrorism
The Australian Debate About Climate Change Rages On Here. Scepticism Abounds.