Australian Foreign Policy and Climate Change: An Issue for Debate

View Segments Segment :

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Help
  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Embed
  • Help
Successfully saved clip
Find all your clips in My Lists
Failed to save clip
  • Transcript
  • Transcript

    Auto-Scroll: ONOFF 
    • 00:01

      SPEAKER 1: Welcome, ladies and gentleman,to our August meeting of the Australian Instituteof International affairs, Tasmanian branch.I, as you would expect, have a few housekeeping announcementsto make before we move to the more important, and interestingphase of our meeting.First of all, I want to remind members,

    • 00:24

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: and I hope there are quite a few here,that we have annual general meeting scheduledfor Wednesday, the 3rd of September.And the new director of the Department of Foreign Affairsand Trade has very generously allowed usto meet in his conference room.Which, as you will know, is at 111 Macquarie Street,

    • 00:48

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: on the first floor.The Institute has met there, from time to time,in earlier years.And Alopi Latukafu, the new director,has very kindly agreed to let us have our GM there.And, furthermore, he's going to be a speaker.It's a golden opportunity for us to meet him,

    • 01:11

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: and I'm going to leave it to Alopito decide what his theme will be,or how far he'll range around his own career.Or, focus on Australian foreign policy issues.And, Alopi, welcome to tonight's meeting.But I'm not going to ask you to speak right now, because Iwant to save you up for our meetingon the 3rd of September.

    • 01:32

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: And that will be at 5:30, not 6:00 p.m.,which is the schedule hour that we will use when we're meetingat the University of Tasmania, either in the law lecturetheater, or here.There will be several committee positions open.And I hope that some of you who are memberswill consider volunteering for on, or two positions.

    • 01:54

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: We desperately need a couple who wouldbe prepared to spend a couple of hourseach week on one, or other, of our portfolios, publicity,secretarial, or whatever.I do hope there will be one, or two, generous souls whohave the time, and the inclination whowill think about it, mull over it, pray for it, pray about it,

    • 02:15

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: or whatever, before the 3rd of September.Now the Plimsoll lecture date hasn't been-- Well,the late date has been confirm, but I'm not in a position,I think, to announce at the momentthe speaker, because an arrangementis being forged with the law school, whohad already arranged for this particular distinguished person

    • 02:38

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: to come and speak.And there are negotiations at the moment involvingthe Department of Foreign Affairs, the university,and ourselves, as to whether, or not, we can confirm it.But fairly soon, I think, Alopi, wemay be able to make an announcement.The biography of Sir James Plimsoll,incidentally, is due to be released within the next coupleof months.

    • 02:59

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: And I know that the author wants thereto be a function in Hobart.But it might well be more convenientfor the launch of that book to be postponed in Tasmania,until next year when it could become a major event,not only for the Institute, but for the University of Tasmania.Because I know that 125th anniversary of the university,

    • 03:23

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: they've got two plans, which are quite ambitious.And there's more money available, as well.So that's just perhaps a minor factor.The government house, inaugural government house lecture,will proceed, I think, not withstandingthe unfortunate, tragic, early death of the governor who's

    • 03:44

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: our patron.But I have had information from government house, informally,of course, Foriegn that lecture will proceed.And as I mentioned at an earlier meeting,that's for members only.And it's a reception at Government House,the inaugural Government House International Relationslecture.And the Honorable Gareth Evans, the former long-serving foreign

    • 04:05

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: minister will be the speaker on that occasion.Now before introducing our two speakers,I need to say something.In fact, I've been asked by Canberrato say something about the recently published book,Australian Foreign Policy: Controversies and Debates.And in one sense, this is a launch in Tasmania.Unfortunately, the books haven't arrived.

    • 04:27

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: There's been some rather frantic correspondence with Canberrathroughout the day.Because Canberra sent a number of copies down last Tuesday,and they haven't arrived.I'm assured that the fault lies with Tasmania, and notthe mainland, because several people havesaid to me mail generally generally arrives

    • 04:48

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: in Melbourne on time time, from Canberra,but there's frequently delays once it gets into Tasmania.Well, I'm not going to make that accusation, notwith any confidence, at any rate.But I do just mention that we didtry hard to get these books down in time.I can still speak about them, briefly.I think it's a very novel approach

    • 05:08

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: to writing about Australian foreign policy,to actually draw up a list of issues on which there havebeen some quite fierce debates, public debates and arguments.And then to bring two people together, for each chapter,for and against.And there are 15 issues that havebeen taken up in this book.

    • 05:30

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: The editors are Daniel Baldino, who'sin charge of International Relationsat Notre Dame University in Fremantle.Andrew Carr, who is, I think, a research fellow at the ANU.And Anthony Langloi, who's in charge of the InternationalRelations program at Flinders university.

    • 05:51

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: And they've chosen the contributors very well.And each of the, I think, has done a reasonably good job.If I was going to make any negative remark, and I supposeit's inappropriate by any negative remarks at any booklaunch.This is not an official launch.I would be that it doesn't trivialize any events,

    • 06:13

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: the format is too much of an undergraduate textbook format.Now it is intended, I think, a textbook in a way.But I would say it's of extraordinary valueto the intelligent lay person's, lifeus, who really don't need to have little boxes,and ask questions, and so forth, attached to every chapter.

    • 06:36

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: So that's my negative remark.But the actual contributions, the substance, I think,merit considerable praise.And the issue's covered range from the Liberal and Labourtraditions in Australian foreign policy,the media and foreign policy, the wisdom of maintaining

    • 06:56

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: the US alliance, defense spending,the concept good international citizenship,religion and foreign policy, and at Chapter 13,Australia and climate change.And we're going to hear about that in a moment.Now because we haven't got any books here,other than these specimens, and neither Stefan Dois,

    • 07:18

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: the executive officer, nor I, want our private copiesto be gently lifted by anybody on the way out.We do have order forms, and the order formsare over at the end of that first row of seats.Just as there are some membership forms for anyone

    • 07:39

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: who would like to consider joiningthe Institute for the insignificant sum of $50,which is about a fifth of the average mainland charge,or subscription.So, please consider the likelihood,or should we say the worthwhile-ness

    • 08:00

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: of purchasing this book, and if you want the table of contents,and a little bit more about the authors,there's also a little blurb at the end of the diskthere, that you can take away, so that you can learn moreabout it.The orders forms can be used to purchase directlyfrom Canberra.

    • 08:21

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: But I should also mention, and this is not a disloyal remark,that you can get it just as cheaply if you orderthrough the university cooperative bookstore,because they'll give you a 20% discount, if you're a member.I don't when a member of the Institute,but a member of the cooperative.So, there are two ways, at least,of purchasing for less than the recommended retail price, whichis, unfortunately $59 something.

    • 08:43

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: which I think is a little bit much.But it is a book a considerable substance.Now, that brings me to the two speakers themselves.And I understand that they didn'thave to be dragooned into coming to Tasmania.The national office spread the offices around the country,they assigned people to different branches,

    • 09:05

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: because they have to be fanned out across the country, chapterby chapter, two per state.A bit sort of Noah's Ark kind of arrangement.And these two, I understand, on good authority,actually volunteered to come to Hobart.They wanted to come to Hobart.And they can disprove, they can discount that if they wish.But they'll have to do it publicly,

    • 09:26

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: because I'm saying publicly that theyboth wanted to come to Hobart.And the first speaker will be Robyn Eckersley.Before I do introduce Robyn, though, Ido want to make it clear that despite the fact that the titlerefers, of t the subtitle of the bookrefers to controversies and debates,most of the contributors being very civilized,

    • 09:49

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: very, very sophisticated academics,don't disagree on everything.They don't disagree-- It's not a severe polarization of thought,and argument.So that one shouldn't be too disappointedto find what they do agree about something.And this is particularly true of this verycharitable combination of Robyn and Matt.

    • 10:14

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: Robyn Eckersley is pretty well known to Tasmaniansbecause she has a Ph.D. From the University of Tasmania.But she's also got degrees from my alma mater,the University of Western Australia,and Cambridge University.And she has been listed as, or described,as a pioneer in the advocacy of eco-centric forms

    • 10:36

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: of government, which is an unusual approach to the studyof political science.Nevertheless, one that's now been taken up by others.And she has published very, very regularly.Her two most recent books, I understand,and she has a chair at the Melbourne University.In fact, I think you might be chairof the program at the moment problem, Robyn.

    • 10:57

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: Which, and it's a large, and very distinguished department.Her two most recent books, and I won'tread the full list, of course, wouldbe Globalization and the Environment,published last year with the co-author Peter Christoff.And then in 2013-- Nno, in 2012.

    • 11:21

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: She published with others.There were several other contributors.A book entitled Special Responsibilities:Global Problems and American Power.And she's co edited another book from that same period.Why Human Security Matters: Rethinking Australian Foreign

    • 11:42

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: Policy, a publish by Alan & Unwin.So, Robyn obviously comes to this particular theme,and she thinks we have been a laggard,with considerable expertise, and obviously,with a measure of passion, but very controlled passion.Matt McDonald is a University of Queensland

    • 12:05

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: graduate, all three degrees from the University of Queensland,but that doesn't make him provincial,because he's widely traveled.He's had academic positions in Britain,and indeed, he was associate professorat the University of Warwick, in the fieldof international security.And that, certainly, Warwick University,

    • 12:26

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: for anybody who knows the British academic scene,is considered one of the most prominentof the up and coming, relatively new universities.His research focuses on critical, theoreticalapproaches to security, and their applicationto environmental change, and the theme of Australian

    • 12:48

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: foreign and security policy.His most recent book, which he co-authoredwith Anthony Burke and Katrina Lee Koo,is entitled Ethics And Global Security:A Cosmopolitan Approach, published by Routledgethis year.And previous to that a book entitled Security:

    • 13:09

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: the Environment and Emancipation, alsopublished by Routledge in England in 2011.Now, their publication list is much longer thanthat, I hasten to add.But it's not necessary to recite it all at this point.So, I think, the order of speakersprobably should be the order in which they appear in the book.

    • 13:32

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: And in chapter 13, I know that Robyn regards Australiaas a climate change laggard.But I'll leave it to Robyn to explain why she believes,that then Matt will takeover, denying, or contradicting some,but not all, of what Robyn says.

    • 13:54

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: I have pleasure at introducing Professor Robyn Eckersley.[CROWD APPLAUDING]

    • 14:14

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: [SIDE CONVERSATION]

    • 14:47

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY: No, no.It's Eckersley.McDonals.No, no.Maybe it didn't come up.Let's just put it in here.We'll all get started, so we don't lose any time.Firstly, thank you very much, PeterBois, for inviting me down.And you're absolutely correct.I never pass up an opportunity to come down to Hobart.Now we're here to debate a simple proposition,

    • 15:08

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: and the proposition is the Australia is a laggard.And I will argue yes, and Matt will argue no.[INAUDIBLE]

    • 15:16

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY: Oh, sorry.Excuse me.I just have to hurry my presentation.Here we go.Right.We're underway.

    • 15:37

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Now, Matt and I both agree that Australia is not a leader.Right?So our debate it, how bad has Australia's climatepolicy been, and it's diplomacy, as well.And I'm going to say it's very bad,and Matt's going to say it's not quite so bad.He's going to say that there's variation,and that during some periods we've

    • 15:57

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: played a constructive role.And during some periods we've beensort of in the middle of the pack,rather than at the back of the queue.OK?And I'm going to say that if you look at our diplomacyover the long haul, overall we've been a laggard.And even if you look at those, whatmight appear to be breaths of fresh airduring the course of this long history, where you do

    • 16:19

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: see some forward movement.While Australia's moving forward,a lot of other developed countrieshave moved forward even more.So, Australia still remains a relative laggard.Now, we need to understand what climate leadership,and laggard-ship is.And I'm doing a major a comparative study calledWhat Makes a Climate Leader?So I've been reflecting a lot about leadership.

    • 16:40

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: But this debate has caused me to reflecta lot about laggard-ship.Now, we're not going to talk about every partof this climate change building.We're looking at a civilizational challenge here.But the debate tonight it not about the science.We're not going to go there.We're simply looking at Australia'foreign policy record.But I'll be arguing that foreign policy, and domestic policy,

    • 17:01

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: are intimately related, in this particular case.Which will give me license to talk about national policy,as well.Now, what I'm going to be arguingis that, where Matt and I are going to filleting, an cutting,and splitting hairs, has to do about howwe understand laggard-ship.And because laggard-ship and leadershipa correlational, then most of my case

    • 17:23

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: will rest on a particular complicit conceptualization.And I'll hang all my evidence off this conceptual framework.So, if you don't accept my conceptual framework, thenmaybe you won't accept the arguments.So, I have to convince you this is a good conceptual framework.So, I want to look first at, whatdo we mean by leadership and laggard-ship in diplomacy?And then I'm going to look at what does it

    • 17:44

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: mean at the national climate policy level?So leadership is either foreign policy behaviour,or negotiation behavior, in the international climatenegotiations that is designed to induce the cooperationof others.And to induce them to cooperate towards a collective goal.And in this case, to prevent climate dangerous climate

    • 18:05

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: change, which is the ultimate goal of the United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change, which is the mastertreaty under the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated,and under which a new treaty is under negotiation,at the moment.That will hopefully be concluded in 2015 in Paris,at the end of next year.OK?That's the Paris Protocol, we hope it will be called.But who knows?

    • 18:27

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: OK.So, laggard-ship is the opposite of that.It's diplomatic behavior and negotiationthat obstructs, or stalls, or thwarts movementtowards that collective goal, or thatcreates self serving rules.OK.Now this is intimately related to National Climate Policyperformance.And here this says, merely relative, it's a league ladder.

    • 18:49

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: And if you're towards the top, you're a leader.And if you're towards the bottom, you're a laggard.And if you're in the middle, then you're in the middle.Right?But we need to say, well, how do we judge national climatepolicy performance?And that is actually a really tricky questionfor comparative climate policy researchers.Very tricky.It sounds simple, but it's not.

    • 19:09

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: What do you measure?Do you measure relative effort?Do you measure changes in greenhouse gas emissions,when we know that you can have windfall emissions thathave nothing to do with climate policy like Russia,and Ukraine.Their industry went down the gurglerafter the Soviet Union imploded.So did their emissions.It had nothing to do with the policy.So we need to be very careful, and havea weighted, balanced approach to measuring it.

    • 19:30

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: So, I've got three simple missions, climate, mitigation,ambition.And we could add adaptation, and addition to that.Policy outputs, and policy outcomes.So, policy outputs are the policiesthat are enacted at the national levelto pursue that ambition, which are your national targets.And policy outcomes are, well, did these policies work?

    • 19:50

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Were they good policies?Did we see a reduction in emissions,and was that reductions in emissions the resultsof the policy output?OK.So that's the measure.The laggards, in this case, therefore,are the last movers, not the first movers, the dawdlersand the shirkers.Meaning they've got low ambition, weak policyoutput, and their emissions are generally growing.

    • 20:11

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: OK?So that's my measure.So you can judge me by that measure.So I want to just talk through Australia's emissions profilevery briefly, I'm going to quickly skip throughthe different coalition-- Labour coalition of Labourgovernments, and coalition governments that we've had,to make my case.But what I want to put on the tableis the fact that Australia's one of the highest per capita

    • 20:31

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: emitters in the world, and has remained sofor the two decades and a bit of international negotiations.This is select.There are few countries that are a bit worse like Luxembourg,and a few OPEC countries.Ross Garnaut showed Australia's average per capita emissionsto be way above the OECD average,

    • 20:53

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: and considerably about the world average.But there's a myth that, OK, that's per capita.But what about our gross, our aggregate emissions?They're tiny in global terms, so we shouldn't reallyhave to be forced to make too much.Well, every country in the world except China and the UnitedStates can pretty much say that.Australia is in the top 20 aggregate emitters.

    • 21:16

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: And there are 194 countries in the world.OK?So we're in the big league.We're in the major league.And we're about 15th.I could be 13th, or a bit more dependingon whether you're measuring CO2, or allgreenhouse gas emissions.Or whether you're including EU as one emitter,that than a whole bunch of states.OK.So we are in the major league.

    • 21:36

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: So we have a big responsibility, because wecan make a difference.We know most of these emissions comefrom the burning of fossil fuels,for coal, fire, and electricity.Also for transport and direct fuel combustion,which is primarily fossil fuel based.So well over half of our emissionsare derived from that.So that tells us if we are going to reduce our emissions,we need to focus on the biggest source, which

    • 21:58

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: is coal-powered electricity.OK.So the Framework Convention was signed back in '92.It didn't have any targets and timetables.It announced clear goals, and clear principles.But pretty much left it to negotiatorsto realize they needed to negotiate a specific, legally

    • 22:19

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: binding protocol with clear targets,and timetables to actually get the job done.Because this general treaty was largely aspirational.The burden sharing principles here are very important.Equity, and common but differentiatedresponsibilities, and capabilities, or CBDR as wecall it in shorthand.But not only that.

    • 22:39

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: There's a specific obligation in Article 3(1)for developed countries to take the lead.They were of those countries who aremembers of the OECD in 1992.So there is an explicit leadership obligationon the part of developed countries.So we don't make up our own definitionof what leadership is, and who should lead.We should be guided by the norms of the convention.

    • 22:59

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: And Australia is clearly a developed countrywith a significant responsibilityin terms of cumulative per capita emissions,and significant capability in terms of its wealth and income,to be able to address that ahead of a whole lotof other countries.OK.So let's walk through the different countries.There's one point I meant to make about diplomacy.

    • 23:20

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: You might say all cooperation and international treaty makingis necessarily conditional.And I would say, absolutely.Yes.But you could draw a spectrum of conditional corporation.Now, at one end you've got countriesthat set an example for exemplary reaction,have robust national targets, good climate policy outputs,

    • 23:40

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: and outcomes.And they say we will do even more if others do somethingthat's quite reasonable, which iscompatible with the conventions principles.That's leadership at one end.This end.On the other end are those that do very little,who sit on their hands, there's an open door,and they keep say to other the people, after you.

    • 24:02

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: And they imposed very stringent conditionsfor their cooperation, which don't respect the principlesof the convention.That's a laggard.And I would argue that has largely been, not entirely,but largely been Australia's diplomacy,in terms of its targets.OK.We don't need to say much about Keating,because this didn't really hot up

    • 24:24

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: in the negotiations towards Kyoto,until there had been a change of government.Kyoto was signed in '97.The Howard government was elected in '96.Keating seemed pretty good when the UNFCCC was signed.But once the Belrin Mandate to negotiatethe Kyoto Protocol was a agreed to,he moved into special pleading.

    • 24:44

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Not that dissimilar to what the Howard government did.So he doesn't get a tick from me.The Kyoto Protocol was, I think, a warm match.We're still trying to play the main game now.But a Australia was only one all three countriesthat negotiated an increase in their emissions targetfor the commitment period, which ended i in 2012, using 1990

    • 25:05

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: as a baseline.so if we're to take ambition as a measure here,it's one of our measures in our composite study of whatnational leadership is, we're definitelylaggards amongst developed countries.Those listed in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol.Now I'm just going to interchange a few photographshere.Let's just toggle back and forth.

    • 25:26

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: You'll find the only thing that changesis, In fact, the picture.Because Bush, and Bush Junior, and Howard were mates.They got on well, and they saw the world in a similar way.And they both chose not to ratifythe Kyoto Protocol, for reasons that are probablyall familiar to you.They weren't sure about that science.

    • 25:46

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: They didn't think the Kyoto Protocolwould be effective without the participation of Chinaand others.They thought it would harm the economy.And they didn't think you should have mandatory introductiontargets, anyway.So Howard's diplomacy was very hard-edge.Those that stayed up late in the final hours of the Kyotonegotiations saw Australia play hardball.

    • 26:09

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: And through their special pleading,which basically distinguished Australia from everyoneelse as to why they should have a more lenient target,played the differentiation card for Australia.Saying we had a rise in populationthat depended on the emissions, and so forth.They even include a particular article,which everyone calls the Australia Clause,because it already benefits Australia.So there's you're self-serving rules, that

    • 26:30

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: says, if emissions from land clearingare a significant portion of your emissions profile,then you can include reduction in those admissionsin your calculations.And the Howard government knew that such emissionshad fallen quite considerably since 1990 in Queensland, waybefore the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated.So what that effectively did was give

    • 26:51

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: baseline inflation to Australia in termsof that source of emissions.It supported US diplomacy, and ittried to pursue coalitions of the environmentalwilling outside the formal UN negotiations.It did soften, though, when therewas an election in the wind.It commissioned a report to look into an emissions tradingscheme.It could see this was where Australian public opinion was

    • 27:14

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: moving.Kevin Rudd was campaigning strongly in this area.And they did some good initiativeson reduced emissions from deforestation.Rudd, hallelujah, was elected.He said this was the greatest moral challenge.He commissioned the Garnaut Review.He raised the mandatory renewable energy target.

    • 27:35

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: He twice tried to get his carbon pollution reduction schemethrough the senate, and failed.Internationally he declared climate changeas a security threat.He was quite active at Copenhagen, particularlyfocusing on getting lots of climate finance.But he's actual target was as wimpy as one could get.And let's just look at that.

    • 27:56

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: I'm going to go forward here.The targets here-- we all know that Copenhagenwas a failure, in the sense that there was no treaty.But they agreed to a sort of political accord,and all countries would post in a scheduleto that accord, their non-binding emissionspledge to 2020.Now here's a lead laggard.A lead laggard-- ladder, rather.

    • 28:17

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Most people are dutifully using the common accounting rules,and using a 1995 baseline.But these three countries, which are in the umbrellagroup of countries outside the EU, mostly, but not entirely,chose a more convenient baseline.And Australia went for minus 5 as its unconditional target.Sliding up to minus 15, or minus 25.

    • 28:39

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: If very stringent conditions were satisfied,which didn't acknowledge the conventions principles.If you translate this back to a 1990 baseline,it's about a three-- minus three to minus four percent cut.So this is probably even worse.But then this was Barack Obama coming inwith a very difficult job, because not much hadbeen done before.So that was Obama target.

    • 29:00

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: So in terms of basic ambition, whichis the compass for all of your policy,this is still at the laggard end.If you want to see who the real leaders are,we're looking at Germany.Minus 40% by 2020, from 1990 base.UK up to min 32%.Denmark's now minus 40%.

    • 29:22

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Is there a question there?Yes?

    • 29:24

      AUDIENCE MEMBER 1: Sorry.I just wanted to ask, did Germany achieve minus 21%by 2012?

    • 29:28

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY: More or less.So the Gillard government, of course, Gillardwins the election not wanting to have a consensusconference on climate change, have found myselfin a minority government.And it was only through the pressure of the Greensthat they didn't negotiate, eventually, this clean energyfuture package, which was a good package in all respects.

    • 29:50

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Although it had its politics, it was full of compromises.They did lots.Matt will probably talk that up more than me.So we'll leave some air space for him on that.In the multinational negotiations,probably one of the finest hours,was the Durban negotiations when they launchedthe new negotiating platform for what we hopeis the Paris Protocol.

    • 30:10

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: I was there, and I remember watching the Australian climatechange minister Greg Combet wondering around the corridorsand getting an applause from all the NGOs.And when he gave his broad speech in the plenary session,he got a thunderous applause because Australiahad moved a little time there when things were actuallyflagging.And this actually gave a fillet to the negotiations.And Australia didn't get a fossil award

    • 30:32

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: from Cannes International at that particular meeting.Because it usually gets one at every meeting.But that was very unusual, not to get a fossil award.So this was a shining hour, I would say,for the government of the day.OK.We know Rudd r was replaced as leader again.But he had lost his resolve.He terminated the carbon tax one year earlier,

    • 30:54

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: brought forward the linkage with the EU Emissions TradingScheme, which was absolutely in the doldrumswith a very, very long price, whichbasically would make things much easier for Australia.And then enter Tony Abbott.And I really don't need to go into this in much details.It's all fresh and living.It's in living memory, current memory.So I'm going to just move through fairly quickly,

    • 31:16

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: maybe saying a little bit more about the diplomacy.Because I'm running out of time.We know that they've tried to defend a direct actionplan with a simple binary of carrots and sticks.We don't want sticks.We want carrots.So we're going to, instead of making the polluter pay,and money going to consolidated revenueto do good things, what we're going to do instead

    • 31:38

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: is make the tax payer pay the polluter through a resourceauction where businesses and farms put up proposals.The government looks amongst them,and finds which are the least cost,and pays the money for their emissions reductions.But of course, if you cap that funding,and then you reduce it after a tough budget,once that's spent, how are you goingto engage in any more emissions reductions?

    • 31:59

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: There's a bit more to it in terms of businessis not supposed to go beyond business as usual.But those details we never really made public.What's less known is Abbot's climate diplomacy.We all know we made a visit to Stephen Harper in Canadanot that long ago.In fact it was in June.And tried to set up a coalition of the unwilling by getting

    • 32:23

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: Canada, and thinking that maybe New Zealand, or possibly India,and the UK, but the UK wouldn't have any of it.Would join them in arguing against any initiatives thatinvolved a price on carbon.This at a time when the world is movingtowards what would probably be the definitive treaty, if thereis going to be one, that will makethe difference between dangerous warming,

    • 32:44

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: and possibly catastrophic warming.He doesn't want climate change and the G20 agenda in Brisbane,but he may be prepared to talk about energy.So Australia got what was called a Colossal FossilAward, the most recent negotiations in Bonn in June.This is quite something.And Canada got a lifetime fossil award.

    • 33:08

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: If you go into the NGOs tents, they'vegot a megaphone where they go, fossil of the day.And everyone stops what they're doing.And there's a huge crowd where they have a podium.It's a bit like the Commonwealth Games,one, two, and three, where they have these students effectivelymock acting particular countries,and the reasons as to why they got the Fossil Award.So I'm about to wind up.

    • 33:29

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: So what's been the net change in Australian emissionsoverall this period?Well from 1990 to 2010, so that'stwo decades, our missions including from land-- excludingfrom land clearing, have increased 30%.Right?Now, that doesn't mean we didn't reach our Kyoto target.We did, which was 108% because they factored emissions

    • 33:51

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: from land clearing.And there has been a bit of a drop.OK?But that's a 30% increase in CO2 emissions, and other emissions.During that time our coal exportshave grown considerably.And the Gillard government, the onethat actually managed to produce legislationin the form of the Clean Energy Future package,

    • 34:12

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: has produced a white paper, an energy paper,saying that we will be the fossil fuelsuppliers of the growth region that is Asia.Taking advantage of the accounting systemin the UNFCCC, which is you only measurethe emissions, fossil fuel burning, and other emissions,inside the territory of the governmentin accounting period.So all the emissions associated with our exports

    • 34:33

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: will be pinned on China, or India.OK.But if you add up the emissions associatedwith the burning of the coal that we sell,it's greater than the entire direct emissions of Germany.And we don't have to wear them.But we can wag our finger China for not doing more.OK?Now, probably a lot of you have heard about the concept

    • 34:54

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: of unburnable carbon.The International Energy Agency said,in the absence of new CNC, carbon capture and storagetechnology, no more than 2/3 of fossil fuel reserves, thatis those that are technically and economically extractable,can be burnt before 2050, if we'reto have a 50% chance of limiting global warming to the two

    • 35:17

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: degree guard rail.That's only 50%.Australia, at the moment, is goingto use up most of that budget bothcurrently in its current reserves,and if you look at it's energy policy,it's national energy policy, whichis part of it's foreign policy, no just it's domestic policy.So-- And I'm getting very close to the end now.

    • 35:39

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: We are betting on no deal.Right?We are making as much money as we can out of thisuntil there is a deal.But we're betting on no deal, because we'recontinuing to invest in coal.And we're continuing to rely on coal.And everyone says, well, soon if there is a deal,you'll be left with stranded assets.China's about to reach peak coal.

    • 35:59

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: The world will start moving away from fossil fuels,and we'll be the last to move.This is not just morally problematic.It's economically unwise.So the conclusion is that, if you look from about the kickingin of the negotiations towards Kyoto to the present,the coalition was in government roughly twice as long

    • 36:19

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: as Labour.And even if we weren't even to look at Labour's record,you'd say on balance we've been a laggard.if you look at Labour's record, they have definitely movedforward in terms of their predecessors.But so has the rest of the world,and that's kept a Australia in a relative laggard position.And that is my case.And I think this is possibly where the negotiations willbe in 2100.

    • 36:40

      ROBYN ECKERSLEY [continued]: [CROWD LAUGHING][CROWD APPLAUDING]

    • 36:47

      SPEAKER 1: Thank you very much, Robyn.Rather than invite questions now to Robyn,I think it's much better to inviteour second speaker to reply.And then to invite Q&A responses.I think that probably makes sense.So thank you Robyn.And now I'll have pleasure in introducing Dr. Matt McDonald.

    • 37:06

      MATT MCDONALD: Thanks.[AUDIENCE APPLAUDING]

    • 37:11

      MATT MCDONALD: Thanks very much, Peter.And thanks very much to the AAAA here in Hobart for having me.This is actually shamefully my first time in Tasmania.So it's actually been really nice to get down here.I got down to Mona.And you may-- I can already see people arethinking he's stalling already.This isn't a good start.So the rebuttal that trying to talk

    • 37:34

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: about what a lovely city you have, and draw attention awayfrom the fact that I have to defend whatis a catastrophic policy of climatechange on the part of this government.I'm not going to take-- As Robin's alreadyflagged, my role.And one of the strengths, I think,of the book, and in particular, this chapter,that they made clear that while they would be encouraging

    • 37:56

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: different views on a range of issues,and there are some where there are quite radicallydifferent views, my view here isn'tto embody the position of the editorial writersof the Australian, or indeed, to try to sort of saythe types of things that Greg Hunt would say,where we're fortunate enough to have him with us today.

    • 38:19

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: I would say a couple of things whereI think as, obviously, if anyone is familiar at all with anyof the things I've had to say about Australia's climatepolicy in the past, it's largely--it corresponds with lots of the things that Robyn's had to say.Climate change is happening.It is human induced.It will have incredibly negative benefits for Australia,

    • 38:43

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: or negative effects on Australia.And by almost any set of ethical standards,Australia should be doing more than it currently is.Whether that's defined in terms of Australia'shistorical responsibility for the problem in the past, wherethey're defined in terms of Australia'sper capita emissions, whether definedin terms of Australia's actual capacity

    • 39:05

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to do more as a relatively developed state,whether in terms of obligations to future generations,or in terms of other living beings,and certainly in terms of making good on its commitmentto keeping greenhouse gas emissions--or to keeping an increase in global temperaturesto within two degrees.

    • 39:25

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: The IPCC has, in its latest report,indicated that reductions, global reductions,would need to be at least 80% by 2050 to get anywherenear the 2 degree target.And now that's looking incredibly unlikely.So that's all a foundational point,at which point you probably are wondering where are the points

    • 39:45

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: of difference between my position, and that of Robyn's.I should also note that I agreed to write this chapterat a particular moment in our historywhen we happened to have things like a carbon tax,for example, pricing on carbon emissions,under the previous government.We also had some indication of a commitment

    • 40:06

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to act on climate change.It all fell apart during that periodwhere I was writing the bloody chapter.So, it was-- it's actually an increasingly desperatesituation I've found myself in.But I will still attempt to make the case.So, obviously, since the point whereI agreed to write the chapter, where I thought,

    • 40:28

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: actually, I think there is space to make a case.And it's largely-- I think Robyn's flagged itin general, that the case I want to make,it's essentially threefold.One, that we have seen variability on climate changepolicy over time.And that labeling Australia as either a leader,or certainly as a leader, but even as a laggard

    • 40:49

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: isn't necessarily that helpful in helpingus come to terms with the ways in which Australian climatepolicy has shifted.And I'd say in particular on climatediplomacy, where we have seen a shift from, in particular,the coalition to the ALP.At times on climate diplomacy, again, climate change

    • 41:10

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: is a dimension of Australian foreign policy.We have seen these Australian government,if not ahead of the curve, then certainly well and trulyin that middle part of the curve.And the final point I want to makeis a bit of a stretch in terms of the actual focusof the discussion.But I do want to touch on the domestic politicalconsiderations that the Australian government has

    • 41:32

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: been faced with.And the fact that actually, if thereare failings in this whole debate around climate change,they're failings that relate to us as muchas to our political leaders.That there are points where the waysin which pubic debate, the role of the media, the roleof our political institutions haslet us down, and actually places constraints

    • 41:54

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: on the extent to which the Australian government couldindeed do more.So I'll run through those points in a moment.I did note-- as I noted, since I agreed to write the chapter,the carbon breakthrough, sort of carbon pricing systemhas disappeared.We've had the climate commission has been disbanded.

    • 42:17

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: The renewable energy target is in place,and remains in place at time of writing.I think that was-- I did have to Google that a few minutes ago,just to make sure, because that willlast-- if I was giving this at this time next year,read my lips.There is no chance Australia will continue this 20% target

    • 42:40

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: of it's renewable energy.That's almost certainly going to go.And there is a review into that at the moment.There was no I minister sent to Poland for the UNFCCCdiscussions last year.And this was a horrible place to start in termsof Australia's-- in terms of Australia's position.And, of course, massive coal projects approved.

    • 43:01

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: But I want to focus on these three points.This variability.Australia's role in climate diplomacy, in particular.And then a little bit on the domestic political context.So first, in terms of variability on climate change,and I think at some level this isn't a particularly scientificattempt to draw together some of the quotes on climate change

    • 43:21

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: from Australian prime ministers.The case I'm making here is that actually these quotesare broadly representative of the waythese particular prime ministers saw climate change.So we did see Keating start to elaborate-- well,Australia will do what it can, but we don't wantit to cost us too much money.Howard, certainly outwardly anti any real substantive action

    • 43:44

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: on climate change.Rudd with this spectacular language that ultimately didn'tlead to climate change action.Gillard almost apologetic about the significant climatechange that did take place under her leadership.But crucially positioning Australiaas kind of in the middle of the pack on those issues.And then Abbott with a return to the Howard era.

    • 44:07

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: One things striking to me about the way Robyn representedis that even-- there wasn't much attention on Hawke,and I actually think of all the prime minister'sin terms of their willingness to do something on climate change,and admittedly, there wasn't much expectedin those early years from the late '80sto 1991 when he was prime minister.

    • 44:30

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: Australia in this period articulated a desire to--or outlined it's Toronto interim planningtarget that was a 20% reduction from 1988 levels by 2005.And this was, at the time, second--the second most stringent reductionof any developed states.So at this point in Australian history in the early years

    • 44:52

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: in the lead up to the negotiation, the FrameworkConvention in 1992, Australian was ahead of the game.A cynic might suggest that this is before substantive actionwas required.But again, we sort of return to strong diplomatic action,at least under the Rudd government.I'll come to that in just a moment.

    • 45:13

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: So we did see variability in terms of thingslike the language used.And I think this is significant.We see recognition under Hawke and Rudd,a real sense that the language here itthat this is a significant moral problem,and we will play a part because this is consistentwith the Australian values, to be

    • 45:34

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: a strong international citizen.And I think Hawke's position very much tiedto Gareth Evans vision of good international citizenship, thatcame to be the lens through which environmental issues wereconsidered, as well.In part because of the experienceof the Hawke-Labour government in being elected in 1983.And of course, your own state playing a crucial role

    • 45:56

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: in that in terms of his considerationof environmental issues.So similar language there with both, I think,Keating and Gillard we get this sense-- well, we'renot quite sold on climate change in terms of actionon climate change, but we don't want to be left behind.This is really prominent for Keatingin terms of the negotiation in the lead

    • 46:18

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: up to the Kyoto Protocol, as the Kyoto Protocol'sbeing negotiated.Especially in Berlin in 1995.In that lead up process, Keating saying,well, we don't want to commit.We want differentiation amongst developed starts.It was tracking towards it not being based on differentiationat that point.He said, well, OK, essentially we will go along with this.

    • 46:41

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: And the idea-- the sort of core analysis of Keatings positionwas, it wasn't necessarily in Australia's economic interestto sign on to binding, equal emissionstargets across states.But Keating was desperate not to besame as being outside this historic internationalagreement.

    • 47:01

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: And I think that's one of the core differences betweenthe Labour government, and a coalition government on thistype of issue.That the coalition have been far more willing to say,well, you know, if that's what the international communitywants to do, then fine.But, essentially we retain the right to pull out of that.So the language is very different.

    • 47:21

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: Even a substantive action, of course, 2009-2013.The renewable energy target in 2009 of 20%still remains a really significant target,and compares well as a form of domestic action, evenwith other develop states.Not as well as it could be, certainly.But certainly more than a range of other

    • 47:42

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: developed states, even if it's unlikely to remain in placemore than a couple years.The carbon tax, of course, servedwhile it was in place to drive down emissionsfrom electricity generation.There was a sense that actually domestic actionin the Australia was possible.And that there are points in our history where

    • 48:02

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: we could start to think about something like carbonpricing, which you know, of course, Australia,the only country to moving away from carbon pricing,which didn't particularly help my argument in advanceof the debate.And again, Gillard's argument that in termsof substantive domestic action, we're middle of the pack.Putting aside, if we think solelyabout the requirements of the UNFCCC,

    • 48:24

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: where Australia doesn't have to think about questions of howit's coal that it produced is usedby the countries, which is a relatively convenient sortof position to have.Putting aside that question, and Australiadoes look kind of middle of the packat around the point of the Gillard governmentenactment of carbon pricing.

    • 48:44

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: The other point that I want to make on variabilityis that actually climate change is one area--and I say this as someone who's writtena little bit about Australian foreign policy recently.Climate change seems to be one of those areas whereyou do see significant difference in terms of languageand diplomacy, from one government to another,based on sort of ideology, and the government that happens

    • 49:06

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to be elected at the time.So we see with governments on core securityand economic interests, you see governments continuouslyemphasizing security based on the protection providedby the US alliance is fundamentalto our national security.See governments continuously emphasizingcontinued economic growth, in particular, through engagement

    • 49:26

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: with the markets of East Asia.That to become, again, something thathasn't really changed over governments,over the last couple of decades.But on some of these issues that areabout engagement with the international system,in particular, climate change, I wouldsay you do see, in terms of the wayAustralia positions itself diplomatically.You do see significant difference from a willingness

    • 49:48

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to reject international consensus through the UNFCCC,to mobilization behind the action of the UNFCCC, and kindof everywhere in between.So at times, largely under the labor government,Australia has been ahead of the curve in diplomatic terms.

    • 50:09

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: This certainly applied to the lead up to the UN Convention--Conference on Environment and Diplomacy, the Rio EarthSummit in 1992.Where not only did Australia articulatethis interim planning target, but alsoexpress serious disappointment that the US hadn'tagreed to a binding emissions target at that time.

    • 50:30

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: So early as 1992.the ALP government was pushing for a binding emissions targetagreement that didn't ultimately get up.Beyond that, they at Bali and Copenhagen in 2008 and 2009,again as a dimension of Australian climate diplomacy

    • 50:53

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: we saw Rudd very strongly trying to mobilizestrong international agreement, taking the largest delegationto places like Bali, and a big delegation to Copenhagen,as well.Becoming friend as the chair at Copenhagen,arguing through the night.And this became central to his argument

    • 51:14

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to-- I don't know if people remember from-- it'sa few years ago now.But this famous interview with Kerry O'Brien, whereKerry O'Brien saying, well, you know,you said this is the greatest moral, challengeand yet you're shelving the ETS.What happened?And he said if you had seen me at Copenhagen arguinginto the night, desperate to try to thrash outan international agreement.

    • 51:34

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: It was clear for Rudd that actually tryingto find ways to mobilize other the states to act on climate,change, to develop this international agreement,for him was central to how we could try to respondto the fact that suddenly he's facing off against TonyAbbott, who is a climate, at the time at least,is a climate skeptic who doesn't want anything remotely looking

    • 51:57

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: look substantive action on climate change.So in those two periods, we see some attemptto provide leadership to try to bringabout a strong international agreement on climatechange, both in the earliest period, and again, 2008, 2009.There were significant commitmentsto aid in climate adaptation as a dimension aid in 2011.

    • 52:23

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: Of course, this then was subsequentlyscaled back in more or less every budget since.But nonetheless, this narrow windowwhere it seemed that Australia was taking seriouslyits obligations to try to help other statesadapts to manifestations of climate change.And while Australia's 5% emissions reduction target is,

    • 52:44

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: well-- is what it is.Some states, albeit mostly developing states,have largely been in favor of business as usual model.And that's not at any level to suggest that Australia's targetis fine.It's to point out that actually Australiaisn't the lone ranger in terms of beingopposed to substantive action on climate change.And if we're looking for states that are genuinely attempting

    • 53:06

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to undermine international action on climate change,Australia wouldn't even in it it's-- well,probably under Howard at Kyoto.But, yes.Certainly under Labour government hasn't intendedto fulfill that role.And indeed it has at points tried to promote actionon climate change.The third point I want to make here,

    • 53:27

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: and again, this is stretching somewhat the termsof the debate.Because really, you know, leadership and laggard-shipisn't necessarily about the question,and the domestic context in which states are acting.And yet, if we think about the domestic political environmentin which states, in which these political issues are attempting

    • 53:48

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to promote in Rudd's case, and in Gillard's case,or indeed in Hawke's case, tryingto provide some degree of action on climate change.It's not a domestic, political environmentthat encourages or particularly enables strong actionon climate change.The absence of bipartisanship on this issue

    • 54:09

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: is fundamental, of course.Rudd's language I would say about the great moral challengedidn't really help in many ways, in terms of it drew attention.It sort of mobilized some people around his causein that early years of 2006, 2007.But it did place-- It did really place tern Turnball

    • 54:32

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: in an invidious position, where increasingly hewas seeing that there was an almost visceral reactionto this sense of invoking these global ethics,and moral responsibilities that we had.And meant that their opposition within his own party actuallyfor Turnball become more, and more prominent.Arguably, the parliamentary structure in Australia

    • 54:52

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: doesn't really help, either, in the wayparliamentary debates works.There's been a lot of debate about this recently,the ways in which it encourages a highlyadversarial political system.And this is particularly important with referenceto climate change, as a range of analysts have noted.So Bruce Tranter who's based at the University of Tasmaniaand others, has pointed out that waythat leadership on climate-- political affiliations,

    • 55:18

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: our political affiliations really matters,in terms of climate change.That it's likely to influence the waywe roll, depending on the level of supportwe have for climate change action.And Fielding, Kelly Fielding and otherhave pointed to this, as well.The ways in which political partisanship reallymatters in terms of the ways we think about action

    • 55:40

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: on climate change.There's also been significantly an inverse relationshipbetween action and support for climate change.And this is a really striking relationship, I think.So, essentially, what we're seen.These numbers are not in a sense representativeof a continued slide.This is from the Lowy poll, and it's

    • 56:01

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: about action on climate challenge,and whether people support substantive action on climatechange.And what we saw from the high point of 2006where Howard's apparent reluctanceto act on climate change was seen asis really fundamental to his fall from grace,and Rudd's rise.From that point, we saw the collapse of support

    • 56:22

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: for action on climate change.And really, in terms of those numbers, quitea spectacular collapse, in terms of recognition,and the need to act on climate change.These numbers significantly startto go up again as Abbott comes back into office.And says, Yeah, that's right.We don't need to do that much about climate change.And all of the sudden people say, well,actually maybe we should do something about climate change.

    • 56:44

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: It's really striking, stunning relationshipin the Australian political contextbetween what leaders are saying, and what the public believe.It's almost inverse, really, since about 2005, 2006.And that really places.This is why political commentatorsare saying it's a deathly issue for politicians,

    • 57:06

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: and political leaders to really try to rallythe public support behind.And I'm not saying for a moment thatmeans Australian political leaders should shy awayfrom strong action on climate change.I'm on the record saying they absolutely should.What I'm saying, though, is you can understandwhy someone like Gillard, who's gotthrough this strong legislation and then kind of wants

    • 57:27

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: to distance herself from it, thenusers ways to water it down, tries to say this is justmiddle of the pack.We're not doing anything.It's not a moral crisis.This isn't-- trying not to use the same sort of language Rudddoes because it's such a toxic political issue for her,and for the loss of political leaders over the time.

    • 57:48

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: It did certainly lead to the fall of John Howard.But then after that, Rudd probably Gillard, as well.So that's an important issue to bear in mind, as well.And this discourse that we see in Australiaabout economic growth versus the environmentcreates a really powerful impedimentto strong action on climate change,

    • 58:09

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: in terms of how that's perceived.I think Tasmania 2004 election isa really good example of this in action,that essentially we see this.Jobs-- logging jobs versus environmental action becomesthe basis for many upon which Labour loses any hopeof picking up those two seats in Tasmania.

    • 58:33

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: So this is just a way of saying in many ways political leadersdon't have carte blanche.Those who are really interested in strong action on climatechange would by, on the basis of what we've seen in termsof the collapse of support, don't have the capacity simplyrun rough shot over the public opinion, and just say,

    • 58:53

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: well, let's work hard to engage in strong action on this issue.And that does, I think, challenge usto think about ways in which those of us who are concernedwith more progressive climate policy in Australiacan actually try to change the public debate in ways thatfosters stronger support for substantive action,on tried to undermine say the role

    • 59:15

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: particular voices in the Australian media.But the main point-- that's kind of, I guess in many ways,a broader issue.I think I'd agree with much of what Robyn said, except that Ithink the scale of variability over time,in terms of Australia's engagement with the climatechange regime in particular, as a dimensionof its foreign policy, suggests that depicting it as a laggard

    • 59:39

      MATT MCDONALD [continued]: isn't necessarily the best way to come to termswith a Australia's role.That actually what we see is this radical inconsistency,and inconsistency furthered, and really underpinned,by a sense that the Australian public don't actually know whatthey want on this issue either.So I'll leave it there.

    • 59:57

      SPEAKER 1: Thank you.[CROWD APPLAUDING]

    • 01:00:04

      SPEAKER 1: Thank you, very much.As I did warn you, they're so civilized that theyhad to agree on quite a bit of the material that was covered.If you want chapters in which thereis diametrical opposition, there are a couple in the book.But they're not necessarily as interesting as the issueon which we are now focused.And I invite questions, or comments from the floor

    • 01:00:24

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: to either of our two speakers.

Australian Foreign Policy and Climate Change: An Issue for Debate

View Segments Segment :

Abstract

Academics Robyn Eckersley and Matt McDonald debate the merits and shortcomings of Australian climate policy between 1990 and 2014. The debate centers around an unlikely perspective: Was the nation's climate policy just bad or actually the worst of all developed nations?

Australian Foreign Policy and Climate Change: An Issue for Debate

Academics Robyn Eckersley and Matt McDonald debate the merits and shortcomings of Australian climate policy between 1990 and 2014. The debate centers around an unlikely perspective: Was the nation's climate policy just bad or actually the worst of all developed nations?

Back to Top