According to
Rehame today, Environment Minister Ian Campbell has made whaling comments in the
electronic media alone 1,124 times in the past month (and 497 times last week). It
casts a wonderful green hue over his government’s reputation but how does the
scorecard really stack up?

applauds work by Minister Campbell to oppose commercial whaling, but even this
has failed to stop the JARPA II scientific whaling programme.

And nothing can
greenwash the Government’s pariah reputation on the biggest issue of them all –
climate change. Germany’s ambassador, Martin Lutz, told farmers in November that
“Australia has an image problem when it comes to green image because everybody
knows they didn’t join the Kyoto Protocol and have the highest (per) capita
emissions of greenhouse gases in the world”. Australia’s pollution
from energy generation and transport are set to rise 46% and 53% respectively above 1990
levels by 2010.

This domestic CO2
footprint is just the tip of the iceberg. We are also the biggest coal and
uranium pimps on the planet. Australia’s Environmentalist-In-Chief presides over
the export of 250 million tonnes of dirty coal a year. Every tonne ends up as
more carbon dioxide pollution, a climate change harpoon aimed not just at every
whale but at every living thing on Earth.

It is great that
Australians are so passionate about whales and other environmental issues. The
challenge for Minister Campbell is to make clear and decisive climate change
solutions as compelling and prominent in the media.

Protecting whales
was a big environmental gain of the 1980s and it is good to see Minister
Campbell cares. But he must now take on the big green issue of this century and
help Australia quit coal. When that happens, hold the front page.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey