There’s a simple reason why the Federal Government seems to have
suddenly discovered the global warming thingy – they’ve realised they
are very lonely as the only players saying there’s no elephant in the
middle of the room.

Even as a tourist traveller in the US and Europe over the past month,
the solitary nature of the official Australian position has been
obvious. John Howard’s last junket can’t have been comfortable with the
same conclusion pretty much unavoidable.

If he had just been studying Crikey more closely, the PM could have
saved himself the embarrassment of finding he was the only one at the
party in fancy dress. In the US, Senator Clinton is competing with Al
Gore for greenhouse credibility. The Republicans are a little behind
but still inevitably moving in the same direction. After George
Bush the politics of greenhouse is only a matter of degree, not
direction.

In Europe it’s worse – or better, depending on your point of view. When
CO2 emission levels are quoted along with fuel consumption figures in
car tests, you know someone is taking it seriously. We can expect
Australian politicians to continue to play catch-up on the issue – a
very difficult strategy in any game. So let’s go nuclear. Or something.
Or pretty much anything. It’s very lonely on the outside.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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