National Climate Change Summit 31 March 2007

KEVIN07 “great moral challenge”

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Donald, P. 2007. Industry leaders head to Labor’s climate change summit. AM – Saturday, 31 March , 2007 08:18:00
Reporter: Peta Donald
ELIZABETH JACKSON: The Federal Opposition has managed to assemble a distinctive line-up of leaders from business, industry, science and the environment to attend its National Climate Change Summit in Canberra today.

The Labor leader Kevin Rudd says it’s about finding consensus on how to respond to one of the biggest challenges of the century, global warming.

But as far as the Government’s concerned it’s all about Mr Rudd promoting himself ahead of this year’s federal election.

From Canberra, Peta Donald reports.

PETA DONALD: With global warming shaping up as a big issue at this year’s election, Kevin Rudd wants to be the one with the answers. He’s managed to draw more than a hundred leaders from the corporate world, science and academia, with State Premiers thrown in to his one-day summit.

KEVIN RUDD: In one corner we have Mr Howard’s Government, who are full of climate change deniers and sceptics. In the other corner we have the rest of the country saying: “how do we deal with this challenge of our age”?

PETA DONALD: There are familiar faces in the climate change debate, like Reserve Bank Board Member, Professor Warwick McKibbin, and Nobel Laureate, Professor Peter Doherty.

Labor’s new business adviser, Sir Rod Eddington, has also helped assemble a corporate line-up that includes the Australian head of mining giant, Rio Tinto, and businessman Peter Holmes a Court.

Conservationists will include Greg Bourne from the environment group, WWF, a former president of BP Australasia.

GREG BOURNE: The key thing for me is we have a mixture of business leaders, some of whom might not have come to a conference like this before, people who are extremely well-known in the academic field with regard to all of the issues around climate change, both the issues on the science, the adaptation, the trading and so on, and people from community as well, other parts of community.

That is, I think, pretty much unique, and that is very good.

PETA DONALD: And would you say that it’s unprecedented in Australia?

GREG BOURNE: Ah, pretty much so, and I think this is just a good step forward.

PETA DONALD: There is a small sign that this is, after all, a political event. The program points out that one panel member, Susan Jeanes, is a former federal Liberal MP from South Australia.

SUSAN JEANES: Well, I’m not taking part as a former Liberal MP. We all have a life after politics.

PETA DONALD: In her role as the CEO of the Renewable Energy Generators of Australia, Susan Jeanes is hopeful the summit will be more than a talkfest.

SUSAN JEANES: There’s a whole range of very eminent people. They’ve actually pulled together quite a significant list of people who operate in the climate change and energy arena, and I think we’re all there to say this is a very important election year, it’s an important year for energy policy, and we’re all there to say we have a role to play in meeting these dual challenges that are ahead, and we want to, you know, we want to help find solutions.

PETA DONALD: Serving Liberals who won’t be showing up are the Prime Minister and the Environment Minister, who – surprise, surprise – didn’t take up their invitations.

Malcolm Turnbull argues that without nuclear power or deforestation on the agenda, it won’t be a serious discussion about solutions to climate change.

MALCOM TURNBULL: It’s all designed to promote Kevin Rudd. I mean, he doesn’t care what the summit says. He’s having his media conference at 10 o’clock. The conference delegates will have barely had their coffee and had the first session.

I’m afraid to say that the people who are going, however well intentioned, are being used by Kevin Rudd as props to promote himself.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull ending Peta Donald’s report.

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