Australian Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water Penny Wrong gave a “Faculty of Law Public Lecture Series” presentation (Note 1) at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane on 12 April 2010. It certainly was a beautiful piece of political propaganda, using much of what Hitler used in Germany and what many religions use today. It had it all, the warnings of avoidable catastrophe, the finger pointing at the culprits (the common enemy), the sacrifice necessary to avoid the catastrophe, the promise of reward for compliance, the mingling of truth with fiction and of course, the “messianic words” to be trusted unquestioningly. Wong covered many main points but I present a few observations about them.
1) Mingling truth and fiction QUOTE: The CPRS is grounded in unavoidable truths UNQUOTE.
The truths:- QUOTE: The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence confirms that climate change is real and we have to do something about it. .. Any effective climate change response now also needs to address the question: how do we adapt to the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid? UNQUOTE. We can’t argue with those!
The fiction:- QUOTE: To do something about it you have to address the cause of climate change: carbon pollution. UNQUOTE.
The catastrophe:- QUOTE: This means that Australian jobs, businesses and livelihoods will be lost, alongside environmental damage of massive proportions.” .. If we fail to tackle climate change, we have a lot to worry about UNQUOTE.
The common enemy:- QUOTE .. to make polluters pay a premium if they want to keep polluting .. And that as well as making polluters pay, we have to put a limit on how much pollution we will allow to be produced UNQUOTE.
The sacrifice:- QUOTE: To reduce our carbon pollution, we need to put a price on carbon pollution .. UNQUOTE
The rewards:- QUOTE: .. and create the reward for clean development. .. This is driving innovation and green jobs in Australia’s car industry .. But there is much to be gained if we act. Already, the economic opportunity is great, .. Already .. global climate revenues rose 75% in 2008 to USD530 billion. .. The number of employees engaged in climate-related activities since 2004 has more than doubled from just over a million to approximately 2.4 million globally UNQUOTE..
The “messianic word”:- QUOTE: The Rudd Government’s policies get Australia out of the blocks in a global race – for the first time. … There are four main ways the Rudd Government is driving this change. The third way the Rudd Government is driving change is through an expansion in clean energy .. The simple truth is it is a policy that works .. And it works not just by enforcing a limit on emissions. By putting a price on carbon – by making polluters pay - it creates an economic incentive to pollute less. It will be the single biggest driver in clean development in the coming decades. UNQUOTE.
That speech was a most beautifully crafted piece of propaganda and deserves a special award. Let’s hope that the Australian voting public give it the response that it deserves at the next Federal Election, due before 2011. If the March elections in South Australia are an indicator there is a significant swing (7% - Note 2) away from Labour and it’s ludicrous Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme towards the Liberals.
1) see http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/minister/wong/2010/major-speeches/April/sp20100412.aspx
2) see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australian_state_election,_2010