Halving global carbon emissions by 2050! A small victory for the politics of empty gesture, but at least an admission by George W Bush, a man apparently determined to start making sense in these twilight months of his presidency, that something needs to be done to arrest a problem has simultaneously encouraged and denied.

No such moments of illumination for Australian conservatives it would seem, with former PM John Howard breaking cover overnight to lend his support to Brendan Nelson’s hesitations over any Garnaut-led move to an Australian emissions trading scheme.

Bush’s apparent conversion should serve as an indicator to Nelson (Howard can carry whatever recalcitrant theories he likes to the grave) that the world has moved on to finally accept the fact of climate change and the necessity for unified and urgent action. Brendan should get with the program and stop trying to milk ignorance and the moment. Any sort of empty gesture would be a start.

Congratulations to Joseph Prater, winner of our June subscription competition. Joseph will be off to Washington DC in November to witness the US elections first hand having first dined with our US correspondent Guy Rundle.