Thursday, June 26, 2008

Deakin climate debate at Online Opinion

Online Opinion has today kindly published a piece I wrote following the 14 June Deakin debate contesting the motion that 'climate change is the only issue'. The debate was part of the 2008 Deakin Lectures (full audio) and was also broadcast as an edition of ABC Radio National's The National Interest on Friday 20 June (includes edited audio).

In the piece I essentially agree with the motion, since the science is conclusive and false competition between the issues of climate change and, for example, global poverty cannot be sustained. In fact, climate change action, while a precondition of the survival of the planet, is also demonstrably a social justice project, calling on the world to fairly share global reductions in CO2 emissions and to avoid climate change impacts that will be felt disproportionately by the world's poor.

Speakers for the motion included Don Henry, Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Larissa Brown, Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, and Chris Turner, Canadian writer and author of The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need.

Speakers against the motion were Austin Williams, Director of the Future Cities Program, Dr Leela Ghandi, Professor of English at the University of Chicago, and Dr Norman Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer of Wireless Grids Corporation (USA).

Monday, June 23, 2008 will boost transparency is a new website that will help constituents check just what the politicians are saying in Federal Parliament compared with the media grabs and the virtual and printed spin they send around their electorates.

In my own case, I can attest that at this very moment the so-called Ferguson Report is being eaten by snails in my letterbox. I'd much rather use direct sources made accessible by to scrutinise Ferguson's statements (though some of the media grabs are quite telling in themselves: 'We've got to find another Bass Strait...', The 7.30 Report, 21/02/08. Warm that globe, Martin!).

The site lets you do things like search Hansard, peruse the latest debates, look up your local MP, and even be alerted to new parliamentary speeches by MP or keyword. You can also post comments on the site.

It will be interesting to see how this venture pans out. On its face, I think the idea has strong merit. After all, it's one thing for information to be 'available', but quite another for it to be easily and readily available. That's what Web technology can help to achieve. I say good luck to them!