Faux environmentalism

Tribune March 2011 Cov[1]

Will Australians’ faux environmentalism derail our greenhouse effort? It seems the Government’s proposed flood levy has tested the limits of Australians’ willingness to help others. While many thousands voluntarily gave money, supplies and physical support to those affected by the floods, opinion polls show around half the population has balked at a modest Government levy to share restoration costs. Why […]

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Clive Hamilton – an out of touch eco-warrior

It must be sad to be an old environmental warrior: to reminisce about the days of barricades, placards, chants, feathers, drums and, well, copious amounts of hair. Clearly Clive Hamilton has been in a reminiscent mood. Perhaps he’s been fretfully stroking his shiny cranium while remembering the good ole Franklin Dam protests and what they achieved. Perhaps he nibbled on one of those special cookies that were so popular in those days. How else could he come to the conclusion that mainstream environmentalism has failed because of “the professionalisation of environmental activism over the past two decades.” Perhaps you, like me, read this and muttered the classic teenager response, “huh?” Perhaps you, like me, wondered if you had totally misunderstood the clean-shaven and articulate environmental activists that have emerged over the past two decades? Why is it that we found them persuasive and convincing when Dr Hamilton says they were sell-outs to incrementalism and professionalism? What did we miss? Perhaps it’s not what we missed, but that which is being missed by the well-meaning Dr Hamilton. Just like the far-left elements of the Labor Party and some of the Australian Greens, Clive is simply feeling cast adrift because environmentalism is now mainstream. In fact, the broader concept of sustainability – the combination of economic, social AND environmental responsibility – is being embraced across business, government and the broader community. Admittedly, we have a long way to go. Australians are big […]

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Who’s the demon?

At the risk of being called naïve or an apologist, I feel compelled to challenge the demonisation of big business. While it is something that has been troubling me for a while, my concerns have become crystalised by the anti-mining mutterings of my esteemed colleagues on Twitter. In recent days, the more we non-economists hear about the misnamed Resource Super Profit Tax, the more sensible it seems.  But it has taken serious journalists such as Peter Martin and George Megalogenis to take the time to translate this arcane but practical arrangement into plain English. We should not have been subjected to the shrill objections and counter-claims of the mining industry and Government.  Any government worth its salt on the issues management front could have turned this resource and risk sharing arrangement into a good news story by bringing the mining industry into the tent and getting them on side before the RSPT announcement was made. Is this me being naïve?  Or did the Government want the mining industry to be seen to be taking a hit swiftly after it dodged an earlier bullet with the abandonment of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme? Did the Government consciously demonise the mining industry in an attempt to regain a few brownie points from the electorate? Perhaps the answer can be found in the title for the new scheme.  The moniker given to the Resource Super Profit Tax smacks of the same hyperbole applied […]

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