Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sunrise Affects Greenhouse

Happy New Year, gurus of The World!

2006 will go down in history as the year the largest CO² polluter in the world — America — and the largest per capita — Australia — acknowledged the problem and resolved to do something about it. Great news. (About 14 years behind the UK, but great news, nonetheless.)

Of course, a growing minority had been forming the opinion that the dire predictions of so many of the world’s top scientists weren’t merely hot air. But politically it was — and remains — a hot potato. (If you don’t factor in little details like future failure of the Wheat Belt to grow crops reliably) coal, gas and oil seem like the cheapest way to power our air con, paper mills and 4WDs.

With an oil-loving Texan in The White House and a coal-loving Sydneysider in Canberra*, both well right of centre politically, 2006 didn’t seem promising as the year the balance of opinion would sway. But of course Step 6 of The 39 Steps is ‘Expect the unexpected’...

The factors were many in causing the collective change — natural disasters, drought, the economic impact of these. But I would like to single out an unlikely hero in all of this — breakfast television. Specifically, Sunrise, on Australia’s Channel 7.

All hail, Koshie, the cross between Mahatma Gandhi and Alf Garnett, in both manner and looks. Flanked by Melissa Doyle (Mel) and Natalie Barr (Nat), David Kosh put a positive spin on the fight against climate change; empowered his audience. Yes, Australia could do something about the problem, and that would make us feel good about ourselves.

Sunrise joined the Cool The Globe campaign, and by the end of October 170,000 people had signed an online petition urging the Federal Government not to scrap a rebate on installing solar energy. And when the Treasurer appeared on Sunrise saying he had no plans to abolish the rebate, Middle Australia got a chance to revel in that feel-good factor — they had won.

Well out of the media spotlight, the Federal Government was busy making hundreds of legislative changes to attempt to weaken the potency of community lobbying, much to the dismay of renowned international environmentalist Dr David Suzuki, who gave the National Press Club Address the same week. And Howard** even wants to foist that failed experiment, nuclear energy, on Australia. But he will fail. Australia will demand a new Prime Minister, one with a whole lot more foresight. And America will demand a President with intelligence and wisdom.

It’s a matter of survival...

* The capital of Australia, for the benefit of international readers who like winning their ‘cake questions’ on Trivial Pursuit.

** Prime Minister of Australia. (Not to be confused with Howard the Duck.)

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