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The lethal politics of climate change

Nick Bryant | 02:53 UK time, Monday, 2 May 2011

To deploy an Americanism, climate change has become the third rail of Australian politics: treacherous, untouchable and normally lethal. Over the past five years, no leader on either side has come up with an environmental policy that is politically sustainable. Quite the opposite is true. Climate change has contributed already to the downfall of three Liberal leaders and a Labor Prime Minister. Julia Gillard is but the latest politician struggling to plot a course through the mists of the country's billowing emissions.

Green politics contributed to the downfall of John Howard. His refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol ahead of the 2007 election became emblematic, and was woven into the narrative of an elderly leader who was out of touch, too set in his ways and too closely aligned with the Bush administration.

For Howard's successor, Brendan Nelson, climate change also reinforced the central criticism of his leadership, that he was prone to vacillation. Trying to straddle a divided party, Nelson first adopted a skeptical line on the emissions trading scheme, only to reverse himself under pressure from Malcolm Turnbull. From that moment on, he was destined to spend more time with his family.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott speaks at the anti-carbon tax rally on 23 March 2011

Turnbull was convinced of the science and impressed by the example of David Cameron in Britain, for whom environmentalism became totemic in his rebranding of the Conservatives. Ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009, he therefore offered bipartisan support for the Rudd's government's emissions trading scheme. Yet he might have learnt another lesson from the British conservatives, which was the danger posed from mutinous skeptics. At Westminster, it was euro-sceptics. In Canberra, it was enviro-sceptics. Soon they ousted him as leader.

For Tony Abbott, scepticism first helped win him the Liberal leadership. Then it helped propel him, unexpectedly, in the polls as he successfully harnessed the mood of growing public skepticism in the months after Copenhagen. Still, it only got him so far. Labor seized upon Abbott's "absolute crap" line, thus reinforcing his plausibility problem with large swathes of the electorate.

On the Labor side, Kevin Rudd's difficulties on the issue are well-documented, not least because the former Prime Minister has helped document them so publicly himself. Again, it was what the retreat on the ETS came to signify, as much as the policy change itself, that was defining. By retreating from his signature issue without much of a fight, Rudd had failed the great Australian ticker test.

Like Rudd, Julia Gillard has been savaged by her own sound-bite: for "greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time" read "no carbon tax under a government I lead". Caught in the clutch of circumstance, with the Greens and independents insistent upon action, she has been forced to champion a policy that is ostensibly the same as the one she argued against in cabinet this time last year.

What they have all shared in common is a difficulty in reading the public mood on this vexed question, which is entirely understandable. After all, the shift in Australian public opinion, from the green-friendly salad days of An Inconvenient Truth, the Stern Report, and the studies of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been extraordinary. Here, the great public relations coup of the growing band of opponents to the carbon tax has been to shift this from a debate about the environment to a debate about the economy.

To borrow two unlovely phrases from the world of economics, first they pitched the argument at the macro-level: a carbon tax would threaten Australia's prosperity by penalizing the very sectors that make it rich. Now, even more powerfully, they have prosecuted the case at the micro-level: at a time of rising fuel prices and energy bills, a carbon tax would stretch household incomes to breaking point.

There is another conspicuous paradox. Though the Australian environmental movement has been pushed back onto the defensive since Copenhagen, its political wing, the Australian Greens, is about to gain more parliamentary power than ever before. For Julia Gillard, who has already been accused of being Bob Brown's poodle and of being dragged too far to the left, this will make the politics even more diabolical because she has so little room for maneuver.

Given the experience of John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull, it would be tempting to argue that whichever Australian politician manages to engineer a policy that is both environmentally sound, economically viable and politically palatable could dominate Canberra for years to come. Yet here we are dealing with an altogether different kind of journalistic trope. Not a third rail, but a holy grail.

PS I am now tweeting merrily away - if that is the correct terminology - at @NickBryantBBC.


  • Comment number 1.

    This is good piece. The issue is very complex with enormous social and economic ramifications extending way beyond our lifetimes. The time for political grandstanding, slippery pronouncements and petty point scoring is past. Politicians are elected to address such problems. Gillard, Abbott and Brown need to meet, agree to set the past record aside and start with a clean slate. They then need to openly, collectively and robustly thrash out common policy positions. There should be no hiding behind citizens’ forums and focus groups. If the public are fully exposed to this process, the quiet majority will give their support and marginalize the chronic vocal protesters who, while few in number, always try dominate the news media.

  • Comment number 2.

    The lack of a price on carbon is a factor in why energy prices are going up, no one is going to build major generating capacity until they know what it's going to cost and how much they can make. We need to set a price on carbon so new generators can be built.

    It's going to happen at some point so starting early and easing the Australian economy into a carbon price is better than having to suddenly introduce one at a later date when an international agreement is reached.

  • Comment number 3.

    leave nature be and replenish itself, get rid of wateful useless unproductive unless bullpoop is productive, Labor. We are going o.k., Nick dont you have other subjects to rehash, how about the butality on the streets, the budget and its problems oh yeah that would mean pointing out labors shortcomings when it comes to economics. How can leaders meet and speak when some of them dont have steady opinions, concrete policies, that is why the coalition was so successful. Right or wrong whether you vote laor or not, Labor are useless with economics. The deficit will bite us all. Green, white pink or brindle.

  • Comment number 4.

    I find the accompanying image to this article rather offensive. Not in a 'Quick, take it down or trouble will ensue!' kind of way, but rather the sign being held in the background which reads, 'Juliar... Bob Browns [sic] b****'. This might be a salient point - but it is detracted from by the addendum which refers to Gillard and Bob Brown. I have difficulty believing that such a sign might have appeared were the current leader a man. Secondly, and still somewhat offensively (although mainly to my grammatical sensibilities), "Browns [sic]" is patently in need of a possessive apostrophe. Were I off to wave a large sign behind the Leader of the Opposition, where a photo might be taken (as they inevitably are these days), I would certainly check for spelling and grammar first.

  • Comment number 5.

    Talk, talk, talk....that is what most governments do when confronted with major issues. Also, meetings and conferences...the illusion of actually do somethings. Only when a crisis is unavoidable will anything be done and the politicians that prevented actions will all re-write their own histories....The political funding of big business prevents anything being done that might be beneficial. Governments tend to muddle through problems always wishing they will solve themselves. The people are already changing the way they purchase and live their lives...the politicians will take the lead when the direction has already changed. They are vultures and pick the bones of the dead and have little to do with the living.

  • Comment number 6.

    PLEASE! It's 'sceptical' not 'skeptical. You're not in America Nick, or reporting to it.

  • Comment number 7.

    The pols need to understand that 'the environment' is a new religion - and treat it in the same way.

    They need to say the right things and do nothing. Worship in the Temple of Gaia once a week but leave the whole thing behind at the church door.

    No point in doing anything because whatever you do will not be enough for the greenies.

    Maybe some token policies will be enough to keep the majority onside while it's still trendy. Planting a few trees here and there normally works.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely Climate Change is not at the centre of anyone's politics these days, is it? I know Political Correctness is certainly at the centre of all BBC liberal/left thought but I thought the climate Chicken Littles had given in and gone home!

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm surprised by some of the negative comments here regarding Climate Change, before anyone accuses me of being a well-off university educated greenie living in the inner-city - I'm not. The problem is momentous I'll admit but even if you deny the science, surely you can see that we should clean up our act simply because - It's the right thing to do.

    Carbon is an issue but until we tackle the white elephant in the room - population, it will be very difficult to achieve any real benefits on a global scale. Consumption is also a serious issue, you can't have infinite growth with finite resources. In the mean time we in Oz are well placed to do small things which could have benefits for our own unique environment and at the very least reduce the level of destruction.

    @Eliza - To quote a stastic from the green-friendly salad days of an Inconvenient Truth if everyone on the planet lived as we Australians do it would take 3 1/2 earths to sustain us. Thats not a prediction, that's already what exists today. Pray tell just how is the environment supposed to replenish itself under such circumstances?

    @Jaction - just because Climate Change is not at the centre of some peoples politics these days doesn't mean the problem has gone, its as serious as it was two or three years ago and what has Political Correctness got to do with Climate Change? If you car breaks down and your mechanic says you shouldn't drive it, it could be dangerous, it'll get worse if you leave it and it will be more expensive if you try to fix it down the track, do you say oh he's just being politically correct and continue driving or do you just let him fix it?

    Regarding the toxicity of the politics of Climate Change, frankly I feel sorry for Julia, I've doubts she'll survive the next election, It's obvious she can't back out of the Carbon Tax now or she'll be seen to be just like KRudd only more hypocrytical. If Labor has failed in anything, it's selling the policy dreadfully and trying to keep everyone happy they can't have it both ways, and right now they just seem to be making everyone nervous, culminating in an ever increasing cost of living.

    I think politics itself is the problem the game has changed Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard all pushed through unpopular policies but you didn't see anywhere near the level of criticism (personal at that), and once the people saw the sky didn't fall in, it stopped being an issue overnight. Julia Guillard (who's been drawn and quartered before anything has even happened) and the Carbon Tax have become victims of the 24 hour news cycle and sensationalism.

    Finally people what is the worst that will happen when the Carbon Tax goes through? Contrary to some professional commentators oft stated predictions, specifically those employed by 2UE the Australian economy won't colapse overnight and there won't be destitution and woe around every corner. Keep an open mind and we might finally achieve something and if it's a disaster in two years we all vote the Lib/Nats in and rethink the whole thing. Thank god for democracy!

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm not sure if 'scepticism' is the correct term, climate change is just too difficult,it's easier to adopt a sceptical pose and just forget about the whole subject. Perhaps some clever foreigners will solve the problem for us. If some representatives of vested interests claim the sky will fall if a carbon tax is introduced it's even easier to dismiss the notion of climate change. If Gillard didn't have to rely on Green support the idea of a carbon tax would have been quietly strangled long ago.

    "...a policy that is both environmentally sound, economically viable and politically palatable '' is a contradiction in terms given the squalid, irresponsible state of current Oz politics. So unless there's a major catastrophe in a First World country that's easily attributable to climate change or some international pressure is placed on Australia, it's back to sleep.

  • Comment number 11.

    To PeterD,

    As it seems you are the resident Canadian on Nick's blog, any comments on the Conservatives' victory?
    Was climate change part of the narrative?
    Is there any sense of the "lethal" that Nick mentions in the Canadian political scene?
    Good to have your comments.

  • Comment number 12.

    #9 DoomOnYou: ‘Carbon is an issue but until we tackle the white elephant in the room – population’
    If you study the respective birth-rates, I think you will find that particular elephant is a black and yellow one. But I agree population growth will probably be the world’s biggest problem in future years. If your hypothetical mechanic was known to be one who exaggerates and hides/destroys data, I probably would refuse to let him anywhere near my car. When this subject first got global attention, the believers called it Global Warming and the sceptics called it Climate Change. When the believers finally had to admit last year that there had been no global warming for the past 11 years, they decided to switch and call it Climate Change! How can you possibly wish to devalue the standard of living of the Western World, with all these carbon trading scams, on the utterances of these doom mongers?

  • Comment number 13.

    #12 jaction:

    There is an interesting photo essay on the BBC home page about Scottish butterflies.
    Their habitats and behaviours are changing because of Climate Change.
    You may not wish to believe the "doom mongers"...but I am quite sure that butterflies do not lie.
    Or do they?

  • Comment number 14.

    Love the new 'PD' and 'GW' since your quiet word. Fancy working some magic in Syria/Libya or Pakistan?

  • Comment number 15.

    I certainly understand how Australians feel about environmentalism given that their country is a desolate hell better suited to the testing of nuclear weapons than anything else. Oh hang on its their environmental policies that put it there in the first place...
    Seriously this environmental sceptisism makes me despair so much that sometimes I really think a global nuclear war would almost be better. Most calculations put the number of people a total war would kill at one to two billion, while climate change is already set to kill 3 to 5 billion [oh!].

    Being killed by a nuclear blast or radiation is a terrible way to die, but then death by starvation drought or cannibalized by ravaging bandits doesn't sound much better.

    While our politicians go on blathering and scoring low points off each other the human population is growing by 70 million a year, and its wealth and consumption of resources is growing far faster. But then that's the whole problem, our whole society is so focused on the short term, to winning and money- that most of us are treating the future our future as totally irrelevant. And that applies to the US, the UK, and Australia - and the rest of the world to.

  • Comment number 16.

    @Jaction -12

    I wont get into yet another debate on the validity of the science I'll just agree to say for the moment no one knows for sure, but some of the numbers don't look encouraging. Your 8 post was dismissive of even the idea, if you want me to entertain the idea that the data is wrong, misrpresented or hidden then you have to agree they could be right too.

    However disregarding the doom mongers for a moment you said:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How can you possibly wish to devalue the standard of living of the Western World, with all these carbon trading scams, on the utterances of these doom mongers? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As I said in my first post we should clean up or act because it's simply the right thing to do. You mention lowering the standard of living for the western world - and not THE world, to me it stands to reason the onus of responsibility for acting one way or another is much more on the western world than our second and third world counterparts.

    If for no other reason its were the money is and its what will ultimately drive investment not to mention we are the greater consumers, what's a refugee in The Congo going to do with a solar panel if he can't even get food? Also our waste is by and large the greater.

    Ultimately I believe our way of life is a privilege not an entitlement. I don't want to have to say to my grandchildren 50 yrs from now sorry about the environment but I really wanted that extra plasma television.

  • Comment number 17.

    #13 Greg Warner “Their habitats and behaviours are changing because of Climate Change.”

    Of course they are; lots of things change due to natural climate change. Also many plants, insects and animals have suffered due to man’s development. But most of this happened well before the Industrial Revolution – which is being blamed for AGW – er, sorry, Climate Change.

    #16 DoomOnYou.
    Only an idiot would deny that we need to spend a lot more effort in cleaning up our act. By all means let us look for alternative fuels, use less plastic, conserve natural resources etc. But surely the recent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis have shown us that, compared to Mother Nature, our anthropogenic actions regarding carbon footprints are mere blips in this planet’s evolution.
    I guess you would rather say to your grandchildren 50 years from now, ‘Sorry you are not enjoying the standard of living I used to enjoy at your age – but at least you can enjoy watching the excellent quality of life the Indians and Chinese are enjoying due to our acceptance of carbon trading and them continuing to get richer whilst merrily polluting the environment.’

  • Comment number 18.

    11 Greg Warner

    Since this is a thread on the politics of climate change in Australia and not Canadian politics, it’s appropriate to lead in through climate change.

    Environmental concerns are prominent in Canada but less so than in Australia. The main reason is that most electrical power generation in Canada is hydro-electric and not coal-fired. Water is also a very valuable Canadian resource as much for consumption as for power generation, particularly with the looming water-shortage crisis facing the western half of our US neighbour.

    As to the election, I’m generally pleased with the outcome. The Conservatives, now in a majority, have by far the most sensible pro-growth economic policies which, as an active investor and someone who supports strong employment growth, I’m much in favour of. On the other hand, they also embody a significant ‘tea party and evangelical Christian’ type element who favour interventionism to control the lives of the population at large. I oppose this crowd and believe that the state should stay out of the private lives of is citizens as much as possible and in particular their bedrooms.

    Fortunately, the new New Democrat Party (Labour) opposition will provide a counterbalance in this regard. They have also decimated the separatist Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. Jack Layton, their leader, and his equally capable wife, Olivia Chow, face the formidable task of forging his enlarged caucus into a disciplined and enduring national Social Democratic force. I hope they succeed.

    The Liberal Party, the traditional party of power in Canadian federal politics, have also been decimated and relegated to a rump group in parliament. For decades, they succeeded by getting elected from the left and governing from the right, but now they really need to reform themselves to survive.

    So Canada is generally in great shape although one still hears the frequent petty beefing in the news media that is common in the other developed Anglo-sphere states.

    Linking to the last thread on the ‘William and Kate Effect’, Canadians are generally happy with their current constitutional structures and see no reason to change what has served them well. There is almost zero debate on constitutional monarchism versus republicanism. A succession of Governors General chosen by the Canadian governments of the day have fulfilled their roles efficiently, economically and with dignity. There have been nine GGs since I arrived in Canada in 1968: six men and three women from Anglo-Celtic, French, German, Ukrainian, Chinese and Haitian backgrounds. These have included diplomats, academics, journalists as well as politicians from the Left, Right and Centre. Over that 43 year period, none of the incumbents or their families have been the source of problems with the embarrassing behaviours and scandals that have plagued the Windsors over the same period.

    Mercifully, Canada also has no real equivalent of the ‘Chip on the Shoulder Brigade’.
    Anyone espousing the mantra of victimhood would likely be considered a prize idiot.

    The major Canadian problem is one of long winters but that’s a small price to pay for having such a good place to call home!


  • Comment number 19.

    I am thoroughly convinced by the scientists' evidence on climate change but equally convinced that there is nothing we can do about it.

    Politicians care exclusively about staying in office, nothing more and the majority of people (voters) care only about their own finances and life styles, and will vote in accordance with those priorities. Sure everyone 'cares' about the environment, but is anyone actually prepared to make genuine sacrifices? Of course not.

    If we, the population of the western world, were granted a referendum through which we could safeguard the planet's future at the cost of significantly reducing our own standard of living to, say, that of the average Romanian, or continue as we are: destroying the planet by exploiting it for its resources at an unsustainable rate while keeping our current standard of living for as long as it lasts, the result would be overwhelming, and we wouldn't be donning our cioareci afterward.

    Obviously that scenario is impossible, but I created it to illustrate my belief that despite all the solar panels, wind turbines, petty recycling and tax on fuel etc no one really cares enough to actually make any significant changes. And anyway the world is controlled by people who have a vested interest in denying climate change or appeasing those who do, so what's the point?

    I do all the right things with recycling and stuff, but I am heartily sick of being told by people who rack up more air miles in a year than I would in twenty that I shouldn't fly as often as I do. Then they talk of adding large taxes to air travel thus beefing up the ever-growing list of exclusively-for-the-rich pursuits. Oliver Letwin even admitted he didn’t want 'more people from Sheffield flying away on cheap holidays'

    Sorry for being so cynical and negative but I think we need to face the truth. The planet's only hope is that its resources run out before we destroy it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Re #18. PeterD,

    Congrats on a decisive election from one of your cousins down south. What do you make of the Liberal slaughter and in particular the near elimination of the Quebecois party? Do you think Quebec is more or less likely to start rattling the separatist saber in light of this election?

    Sorry to interject this here, but since it was brought up, I thought I might as well ask. I'm not sure why we don't have a Canada blog or any sort of blog on this topic. Oh well.

    As to the environment, it's also fallen off the radar here in the States despite the Gulf Oil Spill. Part of the problem is the complexity of the issue. No layman can wade through all the data to figure out what it all means and if the scientists know, they're doing a really poor job of conveying any certainties to the rest of us. The other issue is simply the size of the potential problem. It's overwhelming which tends to make many people simply ignore it and hope it will go away.

    What we ultimately have to do is make good environmental policy good for the average person and business as well, because you just aren't going to get enough people to act against their immediate interests in favor of potential benefits to their future interests. This may seem impossible, but it's not.

    The biggest driver for developing alternative energy in America isn't the environment, but gas prices and the hope of not having to do business with the insane Middle East. Likewise, government incentives to automakers and a public appetite for alternative-fuel cars is driving that development, because it's good for business.

    We will get a lot farther with a carrot than a stick when it comes to conservation. Show people how it's worthwhile to them TODAY and you'll be astonished what can be accomplished.

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 Jaction wrote:

    "Of course they are; lots of things change due to natural climate change. Also many plants, insects and animals have suffered due to man’s development. But most of this happened well before the Industrial Revolution – which is being blamed for AGW – er, sorry, Climate Change".

    OK...if you didn't get the point that the butterflies are moving north into Scotland because of the warming Scottish climate, you may want to read the latest news on the BBC Homepage...hottest April ever...including all of Britain...with records going back over 350 years...well before the Industrial Revolution began.

    As I have posted before about the laws of probability, you should be aware that absolutes occur rarely...anyone who absolutely does not believe in mankind's effect on Climate Change is denying a possibility that if it is true could result in enormous problems for our collective future.

    With six grand-daughters under the age of 12 years, and a six years old daughter...I am certainly looking to the future of those little girls.

    Please follow this link

    # 18 PeterD:

    Interesting and well put Peter...thanks.
    Hadn't realised the extent of Hydro-electric power in Canada...but I guess it makes sense with those "long winters".
    Thanks for confirming you are a Conservative...I thought so : )

    Also agree with #20 Theowyn...would be great to get more current info on Canada through a BBC Canada the moment I see there is a separate section for the USA and Canada...but very rarely see anything on Canada.

    As to the toxicity of the politics of Climate Change, what is truly lethal is the ostrich like, or even lemming like attitude of Climate Change Deniers, those who would fatalistically do nothing to combat it any way possible...for every Churchill there is a Quisling.

    We must fight is the human way to do anything and everything possible to ensure the survival of our species.

  • Comment number 22.

    20 Theowyn

    As I indicated in 18, the Liberals have been the traditional party of power in Canadian Federal politics. It is noteworthy that all four Francophone Prime Ministers were Liberals. They lost power in 2006 after 13 years of majority and minority governments, and were dogged by scandals in the final years. The party failed to rejuvenate while in opposition under the ineffectual leadership of Stephane Dion and then Michael Ignatieff. The latter was considered something of a potential saviour. He was the son of a prominent Canadian diplomat but had spent most of his working life in the USA and UK as an academic and author. While considered by some as a fresh new face, he was viewed by others as an opportunistic outsider. He also became widely regarded as an aloof and ineffectual politician.

    The Bloc Quebecois were really just a one-trick pony whose sole rationale was to promote the interests of the Quebecers and ultimately secure independence for Quebec. Therefore, despite being a Federal party, they never had a nationwide base and came to be seen as increasingly ineffectual. Quebecers have traditionally voted for Federalist parties nationally and Separatist parties provincially, or vice versa. That way they’ve successfully burned both ends of the candle while ensuring a steady flow of Federal funds into Quebec. Separatist sentiments have always existed in Quebec and will continue to do so; however, the likelihood of substantive political and economic separation is very remote since Quebecers would be the main losers. They would live in moribund isolation surrounded by a large Anglo-sphere. Unlike the growing North American Latino community, their birth-rate is very low.

    The Beeb does not run a Canadian-orientated blog site since the main international interest is obviously the large adjacent USA. No problem though; low-key or, as some would say, boring Canada quietly goes about its business efficiently and effectively, and most Canadians like it that way. Enjoying all the advantages of being adjacent to the USA while not having to suffer most of the USA’s internal problems represents a great deal. It takes an ice hockey game against the Americans or Russians to get really them excited and patriotic.

  • Comment number 23.

    While i believe everyone has an entitled to their own opinion, i despair at how the facts and actual experts in this firled get little to no advertisement. #12 Jaction, where is the evidence to suggest the world hasnt warmed in 11 years? So many people seem to be saying what a bogus warming is "the world hasnt warmed, we're being lied to etc etc." Fair enough if these claims had some actual scientific merit behind them. However i actually would like to put my money on the experts, who research issues like these for a liveing. I just cannot believe the sheer amount of misinformation being strewn around by so called "Climate change academics" who sit at home feeling satisfied and knowledgable after ust having read the latest Andrew Bolt article. Seriously

  • Comment number 24.

    #23 Sam Ellett: “where is the evidence to suggest the world hasnt warmed in 11 years?”

    There isn’t the space here to show the many reports from the IPCC and other reputable organisations confirming that there has not been any significant global warming since 1998 – 13 years. Believers will say that you cannot judge global warming over such a short period so these figures are meaningless. But they choose to ignore the fact that this whole AGW hysteria was whipped up by them using the figures showing how temperatures rose between the years 1970 and 1998 – 18 years, a similar short period, but one deemed sufficient to cry out how dangerous this man-made warming is with the subsequent shouts of doom and gloom! They also ignore that similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940 – prior to the most intense period of the world’s industrialisation. And that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, the period of the world’s highest industrial activity. All this aside, I believe most people must accept that we are experiencing a period of *climate change* (not AGW). This is natural and has happened throughout time.

    #21 Greg Warner “on the BBC Homepage... ..hottest April ever...including all of Britain”

    So what? We’ve also just had the coldest winter since 1947 and then 1963. Does that prove the earth is cooling? Of course not! And as for your comment, ‘..for every Churchill there is a Quisling.’ Do you always try to insult someone who does not agree with you? I find your arrogance the most insulting.

  • Comment number 25.

    What was wrong with my post #19, moderators? Was my negativity too overwhelming to thrust straight into the discussion?

    Re #23. Sam Ellett, that is my point too. Experts can have a vested interest as well as anyone else - or be paid to produce the correct 'evidence'. This leaves the population divided and politicians such as Gillard are left to promote their bland, insipid policies that motivate no one on either side.

  • Comment number 26.

    The head in the sand brigade on climate change need to look around them seriously. First, we have the disasterous floods that occurred in the eastern States of Australia. Reason: numerous coal fired power stations and millions of automobiles spewing nitrous oxided fumes into the atmosphere. Second, we have the disasterous tornadoes in the USA, more in a month than any other time in their history. Do not they have more power stations and automobiles than Australia? Time to wake up unless we want more inviromental problems across the world.


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