Monday, December 29, 2008

Environmental crisis (#3 of 2008)

The eye was off the ball this year, distracted by the global financial crisis.

In the last two decades, habitat destruction has been recognised as the biggest threat to biodiversity - but recognition has not sufficiently translated into action. That very narrative was compounded and magnified by the complete wrenching of the global ecosystem, simply because we vote for leaders who are too lacking vision to grapple with the large-scale industrial revolution needed to counter global warming.

The European Union has been - by and large - a bastion of sensible policy. However, their approach remains far too evolutionary and not revolutionary enough. China and India are slow to respond, but are not helped by lack of leadership from the industrialised nations. In America, we have to wait for George W Bush's pathetic body to be shovelled bit by bit out of the Whitehouse - and then have to wait for Obama's plan to translate vision into action.

Which, as it happens, is where Australia has tripped up in a big way. While espousing mantras on the absolute imperative of combatting global warming, Kevin Rudd's leadership has been characterised by lengthy inaction and delaying investigation - trumped by the release of a policy raft that demeans all Australians in the smallness of its vision - so much so that it has been said to actively encourage dirty carbon emitters to ramp up their destructive practices for some time to come - whereupon they will be handsomely rewarded with government handouts, and have plenty of room to make token improvements.

Kevin Rudd was characterised by a Canberra insider as being especially indecisive. His deputy - and frequent acting Prime Minister - Julia Gillard was in turn described as being particularly intelligent and action-focused. I have heard her performance in parliament several times, and her ability is clear and strong. Waiting for the great leap forwards.

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