It's hard to put your finger on the most startling thing about Donald Trump's decision to give the one-finger salute to the Paris climate agreement, but one of its more incredible effects is that it finally knocks Australia off its perch as global climate pariah sans pareil. Which is quite extraordinary really, when you consider that the septuagenarian plutocrat currently passing for Leader of the Free World has only been officially meddling in global climate deals for 200-odd days, while we've been assiduously shirking our responsibilities and thwarting international negotiations for nigh on two decades.
If you can tear your gaze away, for a moment, from our woebegone chief scientist Alan Finkel – the singularly unfortunate fellow tasked with advising the Coalition on how to curb emissions without actually resorting to effective policies to do so – then think back to the heady days of Australia's first foray into disingenuous climate change negotiations: the Kyoto climate conference of 1997, where the Aussie delegation was 'stacked' with representatives of the fossil fuel industry and our negotiating tactics comprehensivelycheesed off the European Union. Was it because we wanted a free ride? Or was it that, after almost derailing the consensus in order to secure a special deal, we decided to stick it to the rest of the industrialised world by not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol after all? Hard to say.
Read Sarah Gill’s comment in today’s Melbourne Age - “Trump’s climate snub: hold the outrage, we're just as bad.”