Paul Kelly, in his excellent (if under-subbed) Triumph and Demise observes that John Howard’s (very) belated conversion to climate “action” (if you can call appointing a bunch of fossil fuel CEOs to a committee that is going to produce a report [aka the Shergold Report]) wasn’t going to solve his climate problem. Kelly is robust (some would say ever-so-slightly right-wing) but always a good read;
Howard’s problem was that he had changed his policy but not his political strategy. He refused to genuflect before the icons: Al Gore’s scare, the drought as proof of a climate transformation, and Kyoto sanctification. For the ABC, Howard was now a figure of undisguised ridicule. His Lateline interview of 5 February 2007 began with this mocking question from Tony Jones: ‘Can you recall exactly when it was that you ceased being a climate change sceptic and became, in effect, a true believer?’
What Kelly doesn’t report is what happened later in the interview that revealed Howard might be completely on top of the implications of the issue…
At 10.25 last Monday night, 234,511 people nationally tuned in to the ABC and saw Tony Jones ask John Howard what he thought living in Australia would be like by the end of this century “if the average mean temperatures around the world do rise by somewhere between four and possibly more than six degrees Celsius”.
“It would be less comfortable than it is now,” was the Prime Ministerial response.
Tingle, L. 2007. Bear in mind threats of climate change. The Australian Financial Review, 9 February, p
Also on this day –
1992 In response to an Australian Conservation Foundation request to meet to discuss environmental matters in the context of the ‘Fightback!’ policy proposals, Liberal leader John Hewson told Philip Toyne and Peter Garrett that they could meet with his shadow environment minister instead, because they were ‘partisan’. [This goes back to that January 15 1990 lunch meeting, which Paul Kelly wrote about in a much earlier book….]
Anon, 1992. Hewson snubs Conservation Foundation. Canberra Times, 6 February, p.4.
According to Labor Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler’s epic ‘Direct Action’ timeline, on “5 February 2010: Danny Price in The Australian starts to back away from costings and admits direct action is not “sustainable in the long term”. “