Planet Gore

Barack Obama, the Eyes of the World Are Upon You (and Your Energy Tax)

With the defeat of carbon legislation in Australia portending failure for a global climate agreement in Copenhagen, the Telegraph looks to America for environmental leadership.

Australian carbon defeat is bad news for Copenhagen summit

If Australia cannot agree, how will more than 90 countries with opposing views possibly thrash out an agreement to tackle climate change?

It was thought Australia was ready to follow Europe in committing to cut carbon. The country has more first-hand experience than most of the impact of climate change through its recent droughts and bush fires; Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, has overturned his predecessor’s objections to signing up to the Kyoto Protocol and the Green Party is popular.

But Australia also is reliant on coal to run its economy, and it has some of the world’s most outspoken climate change sceptics.

Ian Plimer, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University and author of a recent book Heaven and Earth, has controversially questioned whether climate change is man made. His book was refused by many publishers but has since gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies in Australia. Its author has been lobbying politicians and appearing regularly on television.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December will need rich countries such as Australia to introduce climate change legislation to prove they are serious about cutting carbon. Otherwise developing countries like India and China, that are predicted to produce more carbon in the future, will refuse to cut their own emissions.

All eyes are now on the US where President Barack Obama has a similarly tough job getting through his own legislation. He wants to introduce a carbon trading scheme in the most oil-hungry country in the world.

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