Weekend Round-Up 2007 #18

The Age

Over the past week or so I've seen Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change by Clive Hamilton shelved, in various bookshops, in amongst the non-fiction bestselling lists. So, the review this week by Tim Flannery, is of special interest, with climate change or glabal warming looming as a major issue in this Australian Federal election year. Flannery finds this an odd book, laying into all and sundry with some rather dubious arguments. "As Hamilton develops his argument, it becomes clear that he sees Australia rather than the US as the major stumbling block to a more effective Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, he quotes sources alleging that our country is 'encouraging the US to stay out of the protocol'. This turns current perception on its head: most people that I know in the environment movement believe that the reverse is true." And then criticising Al Gore's visit to Australia last year as unproductive and even adminishing Flannery himself who, in his book The Weather Makers emphasised the importance of individuals in abating their own greenhouse emissions. Hamilton's argument there is that it lets governments off the hook; which strikes me as the same argument put forward by governments who want other peope to do the work first. In the end, though, Flannery is a bit confused by the book: "There are also problems with the internal consistency of Hamilton's argument. At the beginning of the book, for example, he sees the problem as being a cluster of industries that have something to lose from Australia tackling climate change. By its end, however, he is trenchantly arguing that it is Australia's coal-export industry that is the real culprit. This may represent the evolution of the author's thinking, but not to go back through the work to make it internally consistent is sloppy."

Jeff Glorfeld looks at two new crime novels, Shattered by Gabrielle Lord and The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham, and finds both of them worth hunting up. [No review on the webpage, so far as I can find.]

The Australian

David Pearce also tackles Hamilton's book, along with The 3rd Degree: Frontline in Australia's Climate War by Murray Hogarth. "Scorcher is not a dispassionate academic history; it's written to make a point about what Hamilton considers to be a policy failure the likes of which we have not seen since Federation. This makes Scorcher challenging: the reader is constantly forced to think about the workings of government and about what constitutes good policy on climate change...While Hamilton tells a tale of villains, Murray Hogarth tells the story of his heroes, fighters on the front line of a long war for survival in a climate change world. Hogarth sets out his strategies for a climate war, a set of actions to win the big battle of our times. While war analogies have been devalued in recent times (war on drugs, war on terror, war on poverty, war on corruption, war on obesity), Hogarth's usage is well-intentioned; he wants to inspire us to do remarkable things."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 29, 2007 1:33 PM.

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