Al Gore is currently in Australia speaking on climate change, where he has launched a “passionate attack on the climate policies of Prime Minister John Howard and US President George Bush.” Yesterday, he spoke to a sold-out crowd of more than 700 people, and tomorrow’s event is anticipated to have similar attendance. From his speech yesterday:
I said it in Australia before and I will say it again, if Australia ratifies Kyoto, it is like Australia and the United States are Bonnie and Clyde in the world of environment.
And if Clyde is isolated and Bonnie has gone straight, Clyde won’t really be able to resist any more.
But according to the event organizer, Max Markson, Prime Minister John Howard’s Liberal Party has prohibited its members from attending the events:
Event organiser Markson says while he sent invitations to Liberals from the Prime Minister down, only one accepted and then promptly cancelled.
“There is absolutely an official boycott in place. We had one NSW Liberal MP [agree to come] and he had to ring back and apologise and say he wasn’t allowed to come,” says Markson.
Howard has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the truth of global warming. When Gore visited Australia in 2006 to promote his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Howard refused to meet with him. Though he did eventually view the film, he dismissed it as “alright” and said, “I don’t take policy advice from films.”
Not surprisingly, Howard is a steadfast Bush ally. Earlier this month, he stated, “We have no closer alliance with any country in the world than we have with the United States.” Howard, whom Bush has called his “mate of steel,” joined Bush in refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol on climate change. They remain the only major industrialized nations to stay out of the international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Howard is facing strong disapproval from the Australian public, the majority of whom view climate change as the number one external threat to the country. They are also increasingly frustrated with Howard’s unwavering support for Bush’s war in Iraq, with 57 percent wanting the war to end.