It has been a year now since the Baillieu government took the reins in Victoria. Some people thought it was going to usher in an era of progressive, small "l" liberal government that would balance the needs of business, labour and the environment in a responsible and even-handed way. In fact, it has turned into one of the most environmentally regressive governments ever seen in Australia.
The new Victorian government has systematically dismantled environmental protections and determinedly ignored its stewardship responsibilities to the environment. Whether it has been cattle-grazing in the national parks, reversing the moratorium on brown coal mining, closing down wind-farm investments or giving miners open slather on CSG, the depressing story all year has been "another week, another environmental policy failure.
The International Energy Agency warns that the "door may be closing" on limiting global temperature rises to 2°. At this month's Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference in Germany, international governments and agencies meet to discuss this very issue. Oxfam's latest warning echoes that of scientists who, for years, have predicted food and water shortages as a result of a warming planet, sparking or fuelling war. The global population, just 3 billion in 1959, is now 7 billion and is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050. Governments are now scouring the planet for arable land, especially in response to the international food crisis that accompanied the global financial meltdown.