That’s how Australia’s new prime minister, Kevin Rudd today set it out to delegates in Bali on climate change. “There is is no other planet any of us can escape to”.
Rudd recently thrashed outgoing PM, John Howard, and the stick of Australia’s outrageous climate denial over the last 11 years beat Howard not just from high office, he even lost his own seat. Guess you can’t fool all the people all the time.
It’s great to see that the big guns are not having it all their own way. Responding to the US ‘position’ that nothing should be agreed and no binding targets set, Germany’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel snapped: “I do not need a paper from Bali in which we only say ‘OK, we’ll meet again next year again’, he said.
“How can we find a roadmap without having a target, without having a goal?”
And speaking of roads, the good people at Land Rover are doing their bit to save the world as well. Not, mind you, by building smaller, leaner vehicles, or by volunteering to build fewer of their behemoths. No indeed. Their ‘bit’ is to fly journalists out to Uganda (rhymes with ‘propaganda’, doesn’t it?) to show them some jolly good carbon offsetting in action.
At least the Irish Times (whose motoring editor went along on the jaunt) saw the irony in the photo op of a fleet of €80,000 Land Rovers buzzing through the shanty towns of Kampala.
Land Rover owners, Paddy Comyn tells us, “previously incurred the wrath of the most staunch tree embracers”. But not no more. In a splendid exercise in Greenwashing, the people from Land Rover delivered a few stoves to the grateful poor of Uganda.
To be fair, the stoves will cut charcoal (and carbon) by around a third, but really and truly, what an embarrassing circus to run just to try to square the circle that the monster vehicles that you produce are somehow on the side of the angels in all this.
The whole issue of ‘carbon offsetting’ is a topic best dealt with separately, but let’s say it is, at absolute best, better than doing nothing and a great deal worse than taking real steps to radically reduce consumption, waste and pollution.
In that regard, from 2009 the Freelander will trim a nifty 7% off its huge fuel consumption and carbon output. Though the Irish Times neglect to mention it in this PR piece, the Land Rover Discovery V8 produces a sickening 354 grams per kilometre travelled. That’s THREE times the emissions of an economical family car.
And that’s the bottom line, really. Owners of the Discovery and other dino-cars can chatter about ‘doing their bit out in Uganda or somewhere’ at dinner parties over the Christmas, while making precisely ZERO effort to in any way rein in their own behaviour.
To borrow a line from George Monbiot: ‘Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it’.