Climate change: The biggest game on earth

Climate-change politics is a sleeping giant that has arisen, writes Paul Gilding

LIKE many deeply involved in the climate change issue for the past 20 years, I've been feeling disoriented. Suddenly it's a top-order political issue, nationally and globally, and arguably the defining issue of our times. Carbon trading is just around the corner, conservative green politics has arrived and for consumers, paying for your carbon will soon be normal operating procedure.

In 30 years' involvement in social and environmental issues, I have never seen an issue move so fast or so dramatically as did this one in the spring of 2006. Nor have I been so excited at the potential for rapid, far-reaching change. So what happened and, more important, what happens now? Is this a genuine global environmental spring or is this some kind of weird drought-influenced aberration that will pass and normal transmission will then return?

And carbon pricing - what does it mean and how will it work? What are the implications for Australia and for key industries? With the arrival of "conservative green", will politics in Australia be the same again?

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