Climatic cock-up

Climatic cock-up

POWER FAILURE: THE INSIDE STORY OF CLIMATE POLITICS UNDER RUDD AND GILLARD

by Philip Chubb

Black Inc., $29.99 pb, 319 pp, 9781863956604

David Donaldson

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin, and has written for The Guardian, The Drum,

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Speaking about the process of painstakingly researching the ‘terrible mistakes’ made on climate policy by the Rudd and Gillard governments over the six years of their existence, Philip Chubb told an audience at the Wheeler Centre that he ‘almost exhausted [himself] with gloom’. Indeed, this important book, which covers the Icarian trajectory of climate policy through Labor’s years in power, is hardly cheerful. Rather, Chubb hopes that the documentation and analysis of the many poor decisions will help legislators to overcome the challenges of implementing significant but controversial reforms in the future.

Power Failure provides an invaluable chronicle of the spectacular cock-up that was climate politics between 2007 and 2013. It is the product of 107 interviews with seventy-four people, including all the major political players (one cannot help but note that the notorious backgrounder Rudd was the only politician interviewed who refused to comment on the record), and many senior public servants, political advisers and consultants, as well as a few residents of Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, source of one of the world’s most carbon-intensive fuels, brown coal. The result is a penetrating look into the mechanics of policy-making.

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Published in September 2014 no. 364

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