Windsor takes aim at Barnaby Joyce
Former independent MP Tony Windsor has thrown his hat back into the political ring, announcing he will re-contest his former seat of New England, seeking to knock over National leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.
Windsor says he is targeting Joyce because of his attitude to renewable energy – “he thinks they are a joke” – and to climate change, which he ignores.
Windsor also accused Joyce of being one of a core group of arch conservatives – including Corey Bernardi, Andrews, and – of being a “handbrake” on the Turnbull government. Windsor was one of two independents that held the balance of power in the Gillard government that paved the way for the now repealed carbon price.
Obama and Trudeau prepare to sign climate pact
US president Barack Obama and newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet this week and are expected to sign a joint climate change strategy that will likely feature automotive fuel standards and include measures to spur the adoption of electric vehicles.
Climate Progress reports that this is notable for two reasons. First, crude oil is Canada’s largest export, and the United States is Canada’s biggest customer. “That Trudeau is working with Obama to cut petroleum consumption on both sides of the border, even as plummeting oil prices spur a downturn in Canada’s economy, is nothing short of remarkable,” the website says.
Second, a bilateral agreement to cut carbon pollution would almost certainly not have been possible even a year ago under Trudeau’s predecessor, Stephen Harper. Since Trudeau’s Liberal Party swept to power in October, Canada has seen a stunning about-face on climate policy. If only that had happened in Australia when a similar “progressive” Malcolm Turnbull usurped another climate change denier in Tony Abbott.
Meanwhile, a coalition of Florida mayors has added its voice to growing criticism of the “ridiculous” lack of climate-related questions being asked of candidates during the presidential primary debates. The Guardian reports the group of 21 mayors, a mix of Democrats and Republicans, has written to the moderators of the Democratic and Republican TV debates in Miami this week arguing it would be “unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed”.
“This is a critically important issue not just for the country but also for the world, but it isn’t even being debated,” said Jack Seiler, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, who put his name to the letter. “Some of the topics raised in the debates are ridiculous – the personal attacks go back and forth for 20 minutes – but when you try to talk about about rising sea levels, it’s almost as if it’s too much of a mature topic for them.
“Our city is really ground zero for rising sea levels, so it’s frustrating to see this. I mean, I’d love there to be as much discussion about climate change as there is about Donald Trump’s hands. If they aren’t going to talk about it in Florida, when will they?”
It would certainly be interesting to hear what the Republican hopeful Ted Cruz has to say on the subject, in the wake of Greenpeace claims that the majority of the funds in Cruz’s super PACs — 57 per cent — came from backers attached to the oil and gas industry. The GOP in general is well funded by the fossil fuel lobby, with more than $100 million contributed to the presidential primary campaign so far. As Climate Progress notes, this means about one in every three dollars given to Republican candidates came from someone with financial ties to the fossil fuel industry.
But back to Cruz, who, according to Natasha Gieling, “is one of the Senate’s most vocal climate deniers… He has called climate change ‘not science’ but ‘religion,’ and frequently cites the misleading claim that satellite data hasn’t shown warming for the last 18 years (the long-term, gradual trend in temperature has gone distinctly upwards, and recent satellite data just confirmed that February was the hottest month on record).”
Indeed, according to Clive Hamilton on The Conversation, it’s Cruz we should be worried about, not Trump: “In contrast to Trump, Ted Cruz is a hard-line, Tea-Party style, evangelical warrior who would ruthlessly use the power of the presidency to impose his vision on America. Trump’s anger may be real, or more likely it’s part of his shtick, but Cruz is fuelled by the same deep rage that gave birth to the Tea Party, Hamilton writes. “I’m scared of Trump, a lot, but I’m terrified of Cruz.” Yikes.