31 March, 2007

LETTER: Who will benefit from anti-logging payout?

Pat Abrahams, Nunawading
Letter, The Age, 31/3/07

The Prime Minister's unrelenting belief is that it doesn't matter if Australia contributes to poisoning the atmosphere or the country is ravaged by climate change as long as Australians have jobs.

Out of guilt or as a political ploy, he has decided to throw 200 million taxpayer dollars at impoverished countries to stop them deforesting. Such an idea was slammed by the previous Malaysian prime minister as a Western notion to hamper the growth of developing countries. Rightly so; they are as concerned about jobs as we are.

If Mr Howard is the realist he claims to be, he would understand that the nations he is targeting have a high rate of illiteracy — their people know little and care even less about global warming. The idea of dangling millions before officials of dubious integrity is unlikely to catch on, because the success of this scheme cannot be guaranteed. If reports are any indication, vast amounts of tsunami dollars have yet to reach the victims. What assurance does the Australian taxpayer have that this wild scheme will produce results?

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