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January 06th 2010 print

Stephen Murphy

Garrett performance falls flat

The environment minister should stick to saving whales and doing what he does best - gyrating wildly across a stage whilst making bold political statements that he will never be held accountable for.

A climate sceptic responds to Peter Garrett

[This is a response to Peter Garrett’s essay “You can’t Google your way out of climate change” published here]

In the lead-up to the third vote on the CPRS, it is remarkable that the minister for the environment points to countries where emissions trading schemes have already been implemented as a model for Australia without noticing a common theme.

If he risked using Google himself he might well read about the $60 billion deficit in California, 21% unemployment in Spain, wages in New Zealand that are 30% less than our own or $2 per litre petrol prices in Norway where emissions haven’t been reduced at all.

One can only wonder what the real cost of the CPRS will be in a resource-driven country such as Australia and why Peter Garrett has gone out to bat in a last ditch attempt to convince a public who have looked at the facts around global warming themselves and are having none of it.

Mentioning everything from puddings to utes to dinosaurs, the environment minister’s article conveys a sense of desperation without mentioning a single scientific fact – perhaps he has been overworked by approving new uranium mines and sanctioning U.S. bases in Australia!

And although many of us enjoy reading cheap fiction in the summer, the factual leniency and various other aspects of environment minister’s article are worth mentioning.

For a start the United States has not, and likely will not, implement cap & trade. Their voters are naturally sceptical of politicians who claim they can change the temperature of the planet with a massive new tax and a clear majority of Americans just don’t believe the claims of the catastrophists.

There is the irony of lecturing us about global warming in the very same week when the US is blanketed with the heaviest snowfalls in 100 years, people are dying due to the cold from Peru to Poland and British pensioners are burning books to keep warm.

And then there is the odd admiration for Malcolm Turnbull… perhaps those who claim that Malcolm would have been a better leader for the Labor party can feel vindicated and those of us who see that the Australian economy dodged a bullet by a margin of 42-41 can smile.

Somewhat worrying, however, are the appeals to the “national interest” of Australia and the rest of the world – undoubtedly the very same “rest of the world” who demanded payments of up to $350 billion from countries such as Australia to hop aboard HMS Global Warming before she sank in Copenhagen.

When the “national interest” trumps a proper debate about the science, the costs and the long term implications of an issue which will affect every Australian, we should be worried.

And frankly, we deserve better from our environment minister who could well take the opportunity to refocus the tremendous good will that has been generated on climate change and channel this energy into initiatives that will make real, tangible improvements to the Australian environment.

In the meantime, perhaps the environment minister should stick to saving whales and doing what he does best – gyrating wildly across a stage whilst making bold political statements that he will never be held accountable for.