‘Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change” by Clive Hamilton

2007, 230p.

This book exposes the names and organisations behind the Greenhouse Mafia- the group of Australian energy and resource producers who lobby the government ( in particular the Howard Government, but given the uneasy shuffling of feet I suspect the Rudd government ministers too) to act in a way that privileges their own interests over all.  He gives this shadowy group definite names and identities: the climate change skeptics (William Kininmonth, John Zillman), the industrialists (Hugh Morgan), the lobbyists  (the Lower Emissions Technology Advisory Group) and the press (the Australian, Michael Duffy etc).  For this alone, I’m glad I read this book. Sometimes, when I read the newspaper I feel as if it’s nothing but an arena for lobbyists and PR consultants to buy space for whatever they are pushing; the mantra over “balance” means that undue exposure can be given to minority views, and the anodyne, deceptive and largely interchangeable names given to “groups” and “bodies” with widely varying agendas become almost meaningless.

But he also exposes the duplicity and paradox in the Howard government’s position on Kyoto. He argues that the Howard government, as the ‘cover’ for the Greenhouse Mafia, consciously sabotaged Kyoto because it didn’t want China- a major energy export market- to limit its emissions while at the same time arguing that Kyoto is unworkable and unfair because they are not limiting their emissions.

At times, and as the book progresses, he becomes increasingly shrill, particularly against Murdoch’s Australian , which detracts from his argument.  The book highlights that ordinary Australian’s concern about climate change stretches back deades, and that at the time of writing (2007), this commitment looked as if it were about to be activitated.

But I very much doubt that the Greenhouse Mafia has disappeared.  I fear that the fine-tuning of the response to the Garnaut report in response to “business export fears” is evidence of the Greenhouse Mafia flexing its muscle against the Rudd government as well.

One response to “‘Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change” by Clive Hamilton

  1. I am staggered that John Zillman is described as a climate skeptic. Nothing could be further from the truth. One wonders how well researched this book is.

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