Australia should be leading by example, and right now our example is unfortunately that of a recalcitrant skeptic, along with the United States. However, with recent admissions from John Howards that 6,000 scientists worldwide can't be wrong - that climate change is occurring - our example is now shifting toward sheer and breathtaking incompetence in the face of impending crisis.
Climate: Strike while the iron is hot
David Cambell, Byron Bay, NSW
Letter to The Age, 8/11/06
The window is open for political action on climate change, with the majority of Australians concerned and willing to bear their part of the global burden ("Voters call for action on warming", The Age, 7/11). But action has to come immediately to ensure that the peaked concern does not turn into resignation - a scenario warned of by climate change communication researchers.
Fortunately, recent weeks have built public pressure up to a peak just at the right time: the poorly reported United Nations Climate Summit this week in Nairobi is offering the international stage to our Federal Government to put its recent commitment to tackle climate change into a binding treaty.
If John Howard has really heard the wake-up call and his recent concern on climate change is more than a PR exercise, he will use this international opportunity. The problem is too big and serious to be dealt with merely on the back of a national election campaign.
And while the creation of a ministry for climate change, as proposed by the PM and Kim Beazley, might look good, it won't stop the planet from warming. Signing on to the international Kyoto Treaty would. None of the about 150 signing countries needed a ministry for that: a responsible government will do.