Australia: Does Turnbull really understand climate change?

Rosslyn Beeby | The Canberra Times

What short memories Greenpeace seem to have regarding the green credentials of our political party leaders.


Last week, the organisation’s national climate campaigner welcomed the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to Opposition Leader, speculating the ex-merchant banker would “green up’’ the Coalition’s climate change policy. “Of all the leadership contenders within the Liberal Party, I think Malcolm Turnbull seems to understand climate change better than the others,’’ said John Hepburn, one of five Greenpeace activists arrested by NSW police last November after they painted “Coal Kills’’ on the roof of the Munmorah power station north of Sydney.


So John, that would be the same Malcolm Turnbull who told the National Press club last year that clean coal “is the most important building block to a low emissions future’’? He also sang the praises of nuclear power as a “proven, reliable source of baseload power’’ and ‘the single best alternative to fossil fuels’’, while lambasting Labor’s pre-election policy pledge to cut Australia’s greenhouse emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 as “destructive and futile.’’


Also in this speech, Turnbull suggested Australia had the means to make “a massive and material impact on greenhouse emissions by sustainable forestry’’ – a solution that, in his view, required “just money, a shovel, a seedling and good governance.’’


No doubt he speaks from experience. In the early 1990s, Turnbull was a major shareholder and chairman of Axiom Forest Resources, which operated logging interests in the Solomon Islands. One of the company’s subsidiaries, Silvania Forest Products was described by a 1994 AusAid report as having logging practices “among the worst on the world.’’ When questioned by the ABC in 2004 about his involvement, Turnbull claimed Axiom bought the company “to clean up the mess’’ and “sort of reposition them so they became sustainable operations.’’ What was his reaction as a self-described “corporate doctor’’ when he visited the Solomons and saw the damage caused by erosion and runoff? He met government officials but, “I didn’t visit any of the logging operations at all,’’ he told the ABC.

Read on here.


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