I concur with British peer Lord Devlin that the Abbott Government’s approach to climate change is “so unintellectual as to be unacceptable”. The good Lord Devlin, however, is undeniably better placed than me to offer that assessment; the former Conservative politician now heads Globe International, a legislator body that annually assesses laws to combat climate change.
Globe International reported that the Abbott Government is the only one of 66 countries studied that has tried to repeal national climate change legislation in the past year. This is indeed incredulous given that Australia is the biggest polluter per capita in the developed world.
Lord Devlin leads the chorus of condemnation coming in from the Mother Country. Just yesterday The Independent asked, Is Tony Abbott’s Australian administration the most hostile to his nation’s environment in history? With Abbott at the helm, ably assisted with his side-kick Greg Hunt – the alleged Minister for the Environment – the answer would be a resounding “yes”.
But the condemnation is not confined to British Lords or the British media. The whole world noticed that our government didn’t take all this climate change nonsense seriously when it was announced that no senior member of the government would be attending the international climate change summit in Warsaw last November. In spectacular fashion, Australia was “awarded Fossil of the Day on the summit’s first day. The award is given by the international Climate Action Network to the country which has done the most to block progress at the climate change negotiations on that day”.
- The sacking of the two department heads who were the driving forces behind initiatives to address climate change.
- The scrapping of the Climate Commission, which had been established to provide public information on the effects of and potential solutions to global warming.
- The Climate Change Authority responsible for investment in renewable energy abolished.
And now to Hunt.
In December I wrote “The breath-taking hypocrisy of Environment Minister Hunt”, and pointed out that:
Environmentalists, and indeed most Australians are still reeling from Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s decision to approve “several massive resource projects” on the Great Barrier Reef which include a new coal export terminal – projects that will see the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of spoil being dumped in the reef’s waters. This approval clearly ignores the evidence from scientists about the impacts of these industrial developments and activities on the reef. He has, quite clearly, “put the demands of the coal companies ahead of protecting the Great Barrier Reef.”
It is simply astounding that an Environment Minister would approve these projects especially amid warnings that the reef, which had already lost half of its coral cover in the past 30 years, would be placed on the “in-danger” list if there were major new port developments. Further warnings note that:
Dredging is a huge threat to the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Seabed and rock is dug up and then dumped in the Reef’s waters. Fine sediments are thrown up into the water and drift for kilometres, ruining water quality and covering seagrass beds and coral.
Just in the past five years, 52 million tonnes have been dredged in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, a recent Senate Inquiry was told.
And he has since asked the UN’s World Heritage Committee to de-list 74,000 hectares of Tasmania’s wilderness and rainforests (refer to the Independent article).
Today, with the release of information on Tony Abbott’s green army, Mr Hunt promoted it as an opportunity to give ” … every young person in Australia the chance to do something for the environment.”
I would suggest that this ranks amongst the most hypocritical of statements one would ever hear from a politician. Let’s recap Minister Hunt and his government’s recent record:
- Globe International reports that ours is the only government of the 66 studied who has tried to repeal climate change legislation.
- The government’s rebuttal of climate change is internationally recognised and reinforced by their disregard of the international climate change summit.
- The scrapping of the Climate Change Commission, the Climate Change Authority, and the sacking of department heads driving climate change initiatives.
- The approval of environmental vandalism of the Great Barrier Reef.
- The de-listing of Tasmanian wilderness from the UN’s World Heritage list.
And now the green army is being endorsed as an opportunity to give “… every young person in Australia the chance to do something for the environment.”
Oh come on now, don’t give us that crap.
Lord Devlin was on the money. This is “so unintellectual as to be unacceptable.”
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