The Big One

Last week I became a founding friend of Australia’s Climate Council, which seemed the least an expat could do in the face of the Abbott government’s short-sightedness—if not wilful ignorance—in axing its predecessor, the government-run Climate Commission. This week, the new IPCC report has demonstrated just how important bodies like these now are.

Climate change has been one of the main subjects occupying my attention in recent years (in fact, for as long as I’ve been aware of it), but you wouldn’t know it lately from this blog. The reason is I’ve been storing up links to write The Big One, the post that would go into carefully argued detail about the whole deal, converting deniers and consoling the despondent... but...

It hasn’t happened. Last year’s turbulent summer came and went, and then America copped the left hook of Sandy, and not long afterwards the right of Sandy Hook, which although it was nothing to do with climate change made it a bad time to bring the mood down even further. And then there were fires close to home with their own climate implications, and the winter that ate spring here in Britain, and it seemed that there would never be an end to new stories, new links, and my ever-growing hypothetical post.

Read More · 1 October 2013


So the Australian Labor Party has managed the most prolonged own-goal in its history, turning a record of presiding over the healthiest Western economy of the past five years into a liability, and handing the keys to the Lodge to someone who regards the UK’s current government as a model of sound policy.

This would be worse if I believed that repealing the carbon tax at this point was any more than rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, or if Kevin Rudd hadn’t managed to make the ALP’s policy towards refugees equally as appalling as the coalition’s. As it is, Australia is set for another three years of debating climate change (if it gets a look-in at all) as a matter of belief in whether or not it’s happening, while here in the Northern hemisphere we’re about at the stage of William Hill placing odds on when the last bit of summer ice in the Arctic will melt.

What gets me are the short memories of the Australian electorate, but I suppose it’s just the gradual influx of new voters who can’t remember the past performance of these “new” leaders. In 1996 I was old enough to remember Howard’s time as treasurer and his unedifying rivalry with Andrew Peacock in the 1980s, enough to see through all the shiny spin around his 1996 campaign, so his subsequent years as PM held no great surprises. Now I’m old enough to remember the mad monk’s past performance as minister for shafting working-class Australians in the late 1990s, and have a pretty good idea of what’s in store.

But people can change, I suppose. After all, I’ve changed from an open and optimistic twenty-something in the 1990s to a bitter and cynical 45-year-old today.

8 September 2013

Events in 2012