Howard The Global Warming Denier Becomes A "Climate Change Realist"
By Darryl Mason
Tim Flannery, best selling author and Australia's lead campaigner for conservation, river protection and the fight against global warming has been named Australian Of The Year.
At a ceremony late yesterday, he was named AOTY by prime minister, John Howard, who's plastered cringe-grin shattered when Flannery gave his acceptance speech and made sure the public remembered that Howard had only recently become a convert to the threat of global warming.
Howard's grin was lost in a comical open-mouth-drop of horror when Flannery said :
"Prime Minister, I need to add I will be passionately critical of delays or policies by anyone that I think is wrong-headed..."
'The Australian' described Professor Flannery as :
(a) long recognised...provocative - but highly successful - alarmist on climate change.
Professor Flannery, a critic of the Government's refusal to sign to the Kyoto Protocol, said he was "humbled" by his award...
Professor Flannery said receiving the award from Mr Howard was one of the "ironies of life".
Howard refused to acknowledge for a solid decade the rising of evidence, indeed the rising tide itself, on climate change and global warming. But now he defines himself as a "climate change realist".
Flannery has, for more than ten years, sounded the warning bells on our increasingly chaotic weather systems, droughts, disappearing rivers and fragile environment.
Therefore, he's a climate change alarmist.
The Australian newspaper recently underwent its own transformation into the chief mocker of anything to do with warnings on climate change and global warming, sometimes devoting five or six opinion columns and the lead editorial to near hysterical bludgeoning of what were, mostly, reasonable arguments from some of the most respected scientists that time was running out if we wanted to protect and preserve the planet for future generations.
Once The Australian's owner, Rupert Murdoch, spoke out on how governments must do more to stop global warming, suddenly the newspaper, which boasts that it keeps Australia "informed", suddenly decide to inform Australia that global warming and climate change were actually realities. And time was running.
So how does the Australian Of The Year define what is at the core of being an Australian? It's not the old cliche of football, meat pies and Holden cars :
....the true underpinnings, the one thing that we all share as Australians, is this land.
It's what gives us our water and our food and our shelter and defines us as a nation.
Why isn't that the basis of our common sentiment about what it means to be an Australian?
The rest of it seems to me to be sort of randomly chosen bits of icons that we just happen to like.
...this sense of being part of an ecosystem that supports you and nurtures you and takes you into its bosom when you die and recycles you is very, very important to me and this country in a sense is very important to me for that reason.
From the Sydney Morning Herald :
Prof Flannery was presented with his award at an Australia Day-eve ceremony and concert on the lawns of Canberra's Parliament House.
"I do feel that the honour comes with a deep obligation, for it speaks eloquently of the desire of Australians to address climate change," he told the audience of flag-waving concert-goers.
"We are, on a per capita basis, the worst greenhouse polluters in the world and I don't think any of us want our children asking in future why we didn't give our utmost when it was still possible to influence the course of events.
"The best thing I can do for my country in this role, I think, is to continue to challenge and to work with all Australians and particularly our governments to stabilise our climate.
John Howard's Inner Green Embracement
The Australian prime minister has undergone one of the most dramatic transformations of all the world's key global warming deniers.
Naturally, he first had to be guided into finding, or creating, and then embracing his inner greenie by the Business Council of Australia, who directed him to do more to fight global warming once the nations' largest corporations realised how dramatically sudden climate change would affect their profit margins.
And no doubt, 18 months worth of polls that revealed Australians regard global warming and climate change as a greater threat to their lives, and livelihoods, than terrorism could have only helped the prime minister to realise climate change would be a key federal election issue in 2007.
On his side was the fact that Australians, like most people, really do have short memories.
Australians will always wonder just how different things might have been had Howard acted earlier.
And they will wonder this plenty in years to come if climate change, supposedly the result of global warming, grows more and more severe and smashes the country and hammers the economy, with superstorms, waterless towns, more and more acute drought and crumbling coastlines.
And Flannery, no doubt, will be there to remind them just how late the Howard government was in coming to the 'Climate Change Realism' table and beginning the transformation of Australian industry, water, rivers, forest management and pollution control.
Howard now denies his years of denial.
He was only being cautious, he claimed a few days ago :
I think we've been more measured than others. I don't think we've been indifferent or neglectful. I do think you have to look at the two things of climate change and water scarcity together.
So now Howard's a Climate Chang Realist, how exactly does he define climate change realism?
By defining it as real? Not quite :
(Climate change realism) means looking at the evidence as it emerges and responding with policies that preserve Australia's competitiveness and play to our strengths.
"There does appear to have been a contraction to the south in the weather systems which traditionally brought southern Australia its winter and spring rains.
"Our rainfall has always been highly variable. The deviation around average rainfall is enormous. And it seems to be getting bigger."
Howard hasn't really embraced his inner greenie, it wasn't there to begin with.
He doesn't really believe in climate change or global warming, but believes he has to be seen to be, at the very least, semi-believing, because 70% or so of Australians already believe, and they will be voting this year based on their beliefs.
Now he's hedging his bets, after finally stepping up to the table, but the losers will be the youngest generation today if he doesn't come up with a handful of aces.
John Howard : "...The Accumulated Evidence Is Undeniable, There Is Global Warming Occurring... Climate Change Is Occurring..."
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