The Politics of Climate Change in Australia

To achieve a better understanding of the politics of climate change in Australia I read the following two books:

‘High & Dry’ by Guy Pearse and published in 2007 by Penguin/Viking

ISBN 9780670070633 (pbk.)

‘Scorcher – The Dirty Politics of Climate Change’ by Clive Hamilton and published in 2007 by Black Inc. Agenda

ISBN 9780977594900

and found them both to be compelling, confronting and illuminating reading.

It has been written about the two books:


‘Guy Pearse’s revelations about Australia’s ‘greenhouse mafia’ made headlines. In 'High & Dry' this Liberal Party insider shows how John Howard’s climate change policy is reckless, how it came about, and who is behind it.

Australia's climate is changing. Water shortage is chronic and irreversible, temperatures are rising, extreme weather events are more frequent, species are dying on land and at sea.

The world’s scientists agree that to avoid the worst environmental damage we must cut at least 60 per cent of global emissions by 2050. Instead, Australia is on track to increase emissions by 70 per cent over this period. Why is the Howard government acting so conspicuously against the world’s interests, and against Australia’s own future?

In this damming account, Liberal Party member, lobbyist and former Howard-government advisor Guy Pearse takes us behind the rhetoric he once helped write. He reveals that the government has no plans whatsoever to reduce Australia’s emissions, and explains why this is bad for the Australia’s economy. He exposes a prime minister wilfully blind to Australia’s real interests - a man who has allowed climate change policy to be dictated by a small group of Australia’s biggest polluters and the lobbyists they fund.

Just as Tim Flannery’s ‘The Weather Makers’ explained the science of climate change, High & Dry explains the politics. You cannot understand the future of Australia without reading this book.’

Here is the web site link to the book:

‘This is the book that blows the whistle on the politics of global warming in Australia. Why have our political leaders been so slow to act? Who are the fossil-fuel lobby groups who still set the policy agenda? How many different ways can one spin, deceive, lie and obfuscate instead of facing facts and looking for the new solutions that are desperately needed? How have big corporations succeeded in preventing real action? Who are the "greenhouse mafia”?

In Scorcher, Clive Hamilton reveals a shadow world of lobbyists and sceptics, spin and hidden agendas. He investigates a deceitful government and a compliant media. And lays out the facts about Kyoto, carbon emissions and what governments and individuals might do, and have done.

Written with humour, urgency and great authority, this is the definitive account of the politics of climate change in Australia.’

At the time of writing the book Clive Hamilton and was the executive director of the Australian Institute and remains a leading authority on the economics and politics of climate change. He has since resigned his position at The Australian Institute to concentrate on his writing.

His books include the best sellers ‘Growth Fetish’, ‘Affluenza’ (as co-author), ‘What’s Left?’ (Quarterly Essay 21) and ‘Silencing Dissent’ (as co-editor and contributor).

Here is the link to Clive’s web site:

The question therefore begs:

Given that is has been acknowledged that Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Liberal Party and of the Opposition (in Australian politics), is the former Prime Minister John Howard’s protégé, does it therefore follow that his climate change policy is as reckless as that of John Howard’s? Does it therefore follow that he is being held to ransom by the "greenhouse mafia” cabal to the same degree as was John Howard?

One can but wonder what will be the nature and extent of the legacy my generation will leave to my four grandsons whose ages currently range from 4 years to 21 years of age!!