Australia is not a climate change leader: The debate over climate change in Australia could be seen as evidence of the existence of parallel universes. It is as if Australia and 191 other countries, including China and India, never signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, as if the new Howard Government never signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. In this universe, Australia is a leader on climate change. Basic facts seem to have gone down the memory hole. Indeed, John Howard is asked: “Why won’t you sign?” The reason he gives for not ratifying the protocol, unlike 175 other parties to the convention, is that it does not commit developing nations to targets, an exemption established under the convention. The real reason is that the US withdrew and Australia followed. The Age

Kenya’s new monkey population puts climate change in perspective: The discovery of a new population of monkeys in Kenya, away from their normal habitat, could have been caused by climate change that may be affecting Africa, a conservation group warned Wednesday. Kenyan conservationists discovered the De Brazza monkey population in the country’s arid north, yet the species is largely known to live in the wet areas west of the Rift Valley, Nairobi-based Wild Direct said in a study titled “Primates in Peril.” While large populations of De Brazza’s monkey, known for their white beards and shyness, exist in central Africa, the population in Kenya is low and under immense anthropogenic pressure. AFP

The icy road to Bali: Ban Ki-Moon has hardly been a limelight-stealer during his 10 months as secretary-general of the United Nations. But over the coming days, expect to see the cautious, camera-shy South Korean at the centre of some spectacular snaps: watching the glaciers vanish at the bottom of Patagonia, flying to the finger of land that juts out of Antarctica and then heading for the vibrant heart of Brazil’s forest. Think of it as a circuitous, but carefully-planned journey to the Indonesian island of Bali, where the outlines of a grand global bargain on how to deal with climate change may or may not come into view at a meeting in December. By his own account a “harmoniser” rather than a tub-thumper, Mr Ban will be told some amazing and often contradictory things as he travels round some ecologically sensitive spots on the southern edge of the world. The Economist

US takes first step towards climate change law: America today took a first small step towards mandatory controls on green house gas emissions, in direct opposition to the Bush administration’s policy on climate change. Today’s vote in a Senate subcommittee marks America’s first move towards the direction of European-style cap and trade policies. Although the caps approved today do not go as far as those in Europe, environmental campaigners said it marked a decisive break with the policies of the White House. Guardian

One in three freshwater fish under threat: More than one in three European freshwater fish are threatened with extinction and 12 are already extinct, according to a new scientific study. The level of threat which fish face is much higher than that facing Europe’s birds and mammals, it is claimed. A new book Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes, produced in collaboration with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) says the diversity of life in European freshwater ecosystems is rapidly declining. Most threats have come as a result of development and population growth on the continent in the last 100 years. Telegraph

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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