Billionaire carbon trader Al Gore has thrown away the last remnants of his credibility by appearing on a platform with Australia’s most notorious mining magnate Clive Palmer to celebrate the end of Australia’s carbon tax.
Palmer is also a Senator whose party – Palmer United Party – holds the balance of power in the new Australian senate, which he is exploiting by holding Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s administration to ransom. One of Abbott’s main electoral promises was that he would repeal Australia’s hated carbon tax. However, Palmer has said he will vote with the government on the measure provided it retains various green policies including the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the government-run environmental scare campaign the Climate Change Authority.
Gore’s participation in this bizarre power game has mystified Australians.
Stefanie Balogh asked in The Australian:
Does the former US vice-president realise that, with his 12 minutes on stage, he has helped dismantle the toughest climate change response on the planet, leaving Australia, in all likelihood, without any carbon abatement scheme?
Australian broadcaster and commentator Andrew Bolt said on his 2GB radio programme with Steve Price:
Here is Al Gore prophet of global warming standing at a conference with a coal miner who actually digs out the stuff that’s causing all the problems he claims…and at this conference this coal boss is announcing he’s going to destroy the carbon tax and in its place he’s going to put a scheme with so many conditions on it it won’t happen. And Al Gore is standing there sanctifying it.
According to Bolt this raises several key questions:
Gore has either been duped into thinking Palmer is an environmentalist or he has been handsomely paid for his bizarre appearance. Or both…
Does Gore know that Palmer claims to have a deal to export $60 billion worth of coal to China over the next 20 years from his big holding in Queensland’s Galilee Basin?
Does Gore know Palmer’s Waratah Coal was given approval late last year to build a thermal coal project near Alpha in central-west Queensland?
Does Gore know Palmer operates a polluting nickel refinery, Queensland Nickel?
Does Gore know Palmer incurred millions of dollars in penalties for refusing to pay his carbon tax bill on time?
Does Gore know that Palmer owns a fleet of cars and planes, and it is doubtful that he counts a Toyota Prius among his collection, and it is unclear whether he claims carbon offsets when he flies in his private 19-seat Bombardier jet?
Palmer is a colourful character with a fortune estimated at $3.85 billion. Among his many side-projects is a plan to build a full-size working replica of the Titanic, which will run on his Blue Star line and offer passengers a time travel experience in which they wear Edwardian clothing and are deprived of internet access. The ship’s maiden voyage is due in 2016. “One of the benefits of global warming is that there’s not as many icebergs in the North Atlantic,” he said.
But before his partnership with Al Gore he was not known as an environmentalist. As recently as April this year he told the ABC: “There’s been global warming for a long time. I mean all of Ireland was covered by ice at one time…so I think that’s part of the natural cycle.”
Then again, Gore’s environmental credentials have been looking pretty shaky of late too. Last year, he demonstrated his preference for greenbacks over green credibility by selling out to Big Oil, when he sold his Current TV channel for half a billion dollars to Al Jazeera, owned by the Qatari royal family.