by Bill McKibben
Just over a year ago I was sitting at my computer in Vermont doing something vital – tweeting, probably, or maybe checking the baseball scores. All of a sudden an email arrived with a link to a story in the Australian Financial Review: “Revealed: Coal Under Green Attack”.
I read it with the mild incomprehension one brings to the politics of any foreign country. I quailed when I saw outraged quotes from various ministers, all of whom were unknown to me, except that I remembered just enough about Australian politics to know Labor was currently in charge, and so these were the rough equivalent of the US Democrats. A man named Wayne Swan, identified as treasurer, was saying that the attack was “a disturbing development”, “deeply irresponsible” and “completely irrational and destructive”. A man named Craig Emerson, apparently the trade minister, said “they are deluding themselves”, adding that the plan, whatever it was, would “mean mass starvation”. The environment minister, Tony Burke, said that the mysterious attack was “simply designed to undermine people who are doing their jobs”. The federal resources minister, Martin Ferguson, was most concerned of all: “Reports of elaborate strategies designed to destroy Australian industries and jobs are very disturbing.” Meanwhile, the head of the Australian Coal Association, Nikki Williams, was blaming “offshore bodies” in the US for the plan, adding “we have real concerns for safety”, and the head of Rio Tinto was describing it as “economic vandalism”.
So I was worried. What on Earth were Australian green groups up to? Had police officials uncovered some campaign of sabotage? Had someone done something really stupid that would undermine climate campaigning around the globe? Was there a bomb involved? I was all the more worried because the news accounts made clear that one of my Australian colleagues, Blair Palese, was somehow mixed up in it. She’d never seemed violent to me, but it’s hard to know with people from another culture…. read the rest here