Dec 142007

It goes on, still. We’re now three weeks into the new, non-conservative, non-Howardian Australia, and still the conservative media commentariat refuses to let go of the past. So much so that I note Dennis Shanahan in today’s Oz claiming that Kevin Rudd’s stand on climate change negotiations in Bali is an echo of John Howard’s.

Shanahan summarises what appears to be an accurate representation of Australia’s position on climate change and a post-Kyoto platform for greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The Australian Government is committed to cutting greenhouse gases; such action cannot be unilateral and must be global; developed as well as developing countries, such as China and India, must be committed to binding aims; Australia will introduce a carbon trading system; there is a commitment to mandatory renewable energy targets until 2020; there will be a commitment to medium-term emissions cuts by 2020 and the targets will depend on how they will affect the Australian economy.

Pretty accurate, as I say. Mind you, this is the current Australian position. Not the previous Australian position as per John Winston Howard. Under Howard, there was no commitment to mandatory renewable energy targets until 2020, nor was there commitment to medium-term emissions cuts by 2020. Certainly, we don’t have those targets cast in stone as yet under Rudd, but we’re at least in Bali, playing a concilatory role between the radical groups and the procrastinators like China, India and the US. The intent is clear and will be enacted once the Garnaut review is complete, as was always the case. The Howard approach was simply hollow words and empty promises, thinly veiling obstinate reticence to accept, let alone support the urgency of climate change awareness. Combine that procrastination with an obsequious attitude towards the US position, and it’s clear that under Howard, Australia would never have graduated to her current position among the concerned nations on climate change.
Why then, I ask myself, do conservative media pundits continue to draw parallels between Rudd and Howard on issues where there was never any likeness? Evidence Shanahan’s closing paras.

“These will be real targets. These will be robust targets,” he declared, but he wasn’t committing to any targets before the analysis was completed and without the developing nations being part of the solution.
“We expect all developed countries to embrace a further set of binding emissions targets, and we need this meeting at Bali to map out the process and timeline in which this will happen. And we need developing countries to play their part, with specific commitments to action,”
he said.
That’s Rudd talking. Rudd’s right, and he believes in what he is saying. It could have been Howard.

No, Dennis. It couldn’t have ever been Howard. Not in yours or anyone else’s fevered nightmares could any similarity be drawn between the Rudd stance on climate change and the Howard stance. You’re merely indulging in a hopeful fantasy that the gullible will swallow your line about Rudd mirroring Howard and then come out justifying your own historical position on behalf of that sadly conservative Murdoch rag you work for. You’ve been tarred, dennis and it’s a sticky, hard to remove substance. Funny that, eh?

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