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Climate change priority in Australian vote

Madeleine Coorey, AFP
On the parched paddocks of his grain and sheep farm, Paul Rout is at the frontline of one of the main campaign battles ahead of Australian elections on Saturday: climate change.

Enduring drought, frequent bushfires and rising temperatures have pushed global warming to the forefront of debate in the driest inhabited continent on earth, leaving politicians scrambling to keep up with popular concern.

What was once dismissed as a fringe issue is now centre-stage as the nation’s lush farmland dries up, major cities suffer water restrictions and the drought forces up the price of everything from bread to beer.

“We’re no different to anybody, but we’re the ones at the coal face of it,” Rout told AFP as he surveyed his devastated crops in central west New South Wales.
(19 November 2007)

Do not fear climate: PM

The Border Mail
PRIME Minister John Howard has called for calm following the latest dire predictions from the United Nations about the impact of climate change.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that global warming, if unchecked, would spread hunger and disease, put further stress on water resources, cause fiercer storms and droughts, and could drive 70 per cent of plant and animal species to extinction.

The report was seized on by both the Government and Opposition as an election issue.

Mr Howard said climate change was nothing to be feared but the idea of Labor’s Peter Garrett running Australia’s environmental policies should be frightening to all.

And he warned that only the Coalition could deliver a climate change policy that protected both the economy and the environment.

“My view also is that the world is not coming to an end tomorrow and that like all of these things we have to get a commonsense, balanced approach,” Mr Howard said.
(19 November 2007)

Libs at war over Kyoto

AAP, The Australian
NSW opposition energy spokesman Peter Debnam has contradicted Coalition climate policy, saying Australia should have signed the Kyoto protocol long ago.

His stance puts him at loggerheads with Prime Minister John Howard, who warmly endorsed Mr Debnam in his failed bid earlier this year to become NSW premier at the state election.

The former NSW Liberal leader today told the NSW Energy Summit that Australian progress on developing clean energy had been distracted by the prolonged debate about ratifying the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

“I wish we had ratified Kyoto long ago and then led the world with bold initiatives in clean energy,” he told the summit.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd meanwhile is refusing to back Peter Garrett as his environment minister if Labor wins government.

Mr Rudd today continued to hammer the message that the government had failed to take action on global warming.
(19 November 2007)

Labor ‘not serious enough on climate change’

Herald Sun
Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Labor’s stance on climate change is a matter of slogans, whereas he is completely serious.

Mr Turnbull said Australia’s carbon emissions will start to go down when a planned trading scheme begins to bite after 2011.

He said a Coalition Government is committed to a massive reduction in emissions, both locally and internationally.

“I take the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) science very much to heart,” he told ABC radio today.
(19 November 2007)

Use Your Vote Wisely

Big Gav, Peak Energy (Australia)
I’m sure regular readers won’t need any urging, but just in case you are deaf and blind (as one guy who read for over 2 years before “resigning” in a huff a couple of months back clearly was) – Peak Energy recommends turfing the Rodent and his government out on their backsides and hurling rotten fruit at them.

They’ve done nothing (in fact negative things) about global warming, they’ve done nothing about our energy security (other than shamefully backing the American oil war in Iraq and destroying our traditional freedoms thanks to their fear mongering and draconian “anti terror” legislation) and they’ve done nothing to position the country to be successful at anything other than digging up dirt and selling it overseas – they’ve simply ridden on the coattails of Paul Keating and the China boom.

And they’re a bunch of pork barreling hypocrites.

So vote for a minor party first and put the coalition last in your preferences – especially in the Senate.

Hopefully the country will head off in a new, better direction in December.
(16 November 2007)