Michael Mann calls the defeat of local weather deniers in Australia – Watt with it?
Essay by Eric Worrall
Michael Mann seems to have confused a left election cycle maximum with a hockey stick.
Australia’s climate fight has continued – leaving deniers behind
on April 8, 2023 1:00 am AEST
Notwithstanding a few absurd outbursts on the sidelines, there is now controversy over what form of climate action to adopt.
I left Australia three years ago and cut my sabbatical short as Covid-19 spread and lockdowns followed. I had just witnessed the Black Summer, a climate change-induced disaster marked by unprecedented heat, devastating drought, and devastating and deadly bushfires. Although I came to Australia to research the impact of climate change on extreme weather events, it became my lived experience instead.
The ruling coalition had left a trail of death and destruction in its wake, both figuratively and literally. Thousands of homes were destroyed, dozens of lives lost, 24 million hectares burned, and Australia was shunned from an international climate summit because of then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s intransigence. Meanwhile, the right-wing Murdoch media machine continued to spread climate disinformation, cynically blaming arson and “backburning” for the devastation. Things were looking pretty bleak. But at the same time I felt that something had changed.
The good news? After almost a decade, Australia has regained sensible climate policy after ongoing and somewhat heated negotiations between the Albanian government and the Greens. One can argue whether it goes far enough. But Green Party leader Adam Bandt put it this way: “To all those who despair about the future and want real climate action, today you should have a jump in your heart because it shows that we are taking on the coal and gas companies and winning can. ”
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/08/australias-climate-battle-has-moved-on-leaving-deniers-behind
As we near the one-year anniversary of the left-leaning Albanese victory, with Albanese jumping from a recent impressive by-election victory, it’s understandable that Mann is excited by a brief subset of available data.
But history teaches caution. Kevin Rudd rode to victory in 2007 on a huge wave of support with a promise to solve the climate crisis. But a series of economic and political missteps saw him lose his leadership role in 2010, briefly regaining it in 2013, only to be obliterated by conservative climate skeptic Tony Abbott in 2013.
Will Albanese follow the same path as Rudd? Unfortunately, it’s possible he could win a second term. The Conservative opposition in Australia is deeply divided thanks to reckless attempts by mainstream Conservative Liberal and national party leaders to swing too far to the left, such as their unconvincing adoption of Net Zero just before the last general election.
The Conservatives will eventually regroup and Albanese will stumble. Storm clouds are already gathering on the Albanese horizon in the form of imminent energy shortages. Sooner or later these problems will seriously affect the lives of ordinary Australians.
Australian voters are no different than other countries, when we feel economic troubles, lose our jobs or face housing insecurity, we lash out at those responsible.
When the pendulum finally swings right again, we can all look forward to reading Mann’s tedious essays about what a missed opportunity the Albanese years were.