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Govt backflips on clean energy targets

Govt backflips on clean energy targets

Broadcast: 24/09/2007

Reporter: Matt Peacock

For years, the Federal Government had specifically ruled out the idea of increasing renewable
energy targets, but now it's had a change of heart. Under a new plan, announced by the Prime
Minister, fifteen per cent of electricity generated across the country will have to come from wind,
solar or clean coal, by 2020. Energy producers are supportive, but green groups say it's too little
and the states are unimpressed.


KERRY O'BRIEN: The Federal Government's latest attempt to boost its green credentials with an
election campaign just around the corner has not exactly been met with thunderous applause.

Having rejected arguments to significantly increase its mandatory targets for renewable energy over
years, the Prime Minister has now committed to do precisely that.

Mr Howard's new national scheme - which would encompass all the existing schemes around the states
- would dictate that 15 per cent of the nation's power needs would come from renewables or clean
energy, or clean technology by 2020.

But green groups, the states and the Federal Opposition are all heavily critical of aspects of the

Matt Peacock reports.

MATT PEACOCK: As concern over global warming reaches new heights, leaders from over 80 nations are
gathering in New York today for an unprecedented UN summit to plan the sequel to the Kyoto Treaty.

Back in Australia at the weekend, Kevin Rudd was basking in the glow of Al Gore's climate campaign.

And John Howard was announcing a plan of his own, suggesting a target of 15 per cent for what he
calls clean energy by 2020.

ANDREW RICHARDS, PACIFIC HYDRO: Essentially from a target point of view, it is business as usual.
So while we're delighted that the regulatory environment will become a little bit more clear, we
would've been delighted if they'd also increase the target to 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

JOHN BOSHIER, NATIONAL GENERATIONS FORUM: The timing was a little bit of a surprise, but then it is
election time and these things happen, but I think that overall it will prove to be the right

MATT PEACOCK: The Federal Government has set a target of 30,000 gigawatt hours of electricity to
come from clean energy by 2020. That is, solar and wind but also so-called clean coal, assuming
that the technology to bury coal-generated carbon emissions is viable by then.

IAN MACFARLANE, INDUSTRY MINISTER: What we are doing with this program is increasing the mandatory
renewable energy target threefold. But also in doing that, including future energy sources which
will be pivotal to Australia's energy security, such as clean coal.

actually steal the states' targets and dressed it up as their own. They haven't provided any
additional target that can take us anywhere in terms of increasing renewable energy, so it's not a
target at all.

MATT PEACOCK: In 2001, the Howard Government set an additional compulsory renewable energy target
of two per cent of the then total, the target its critics claimed was too low, and one that has
since shrunk to nearly half that as energy consumption has grown.

IAN MACFARLANE: Well, the MRET target was a success far before we expected it to. We expected the
targets to be reached some time after 2010, 2015. In fact, it looks as though the target will be
reached as early as 2008.

PETER GARRETT: When the Howard Government came into power, we had about 10.5 per cent of our total
energy needs met by renewables. At this stage of the game, when we go to the election, we'll be on
about 8.5 per cent. Under Mr Howard, we've gone backwards in terms of supporting renewable energy
and their industry.

MATT PEACOCK: For Australia's major power generators, the Government's new target is a welcome
move, if only because it rationalises the States' schemes that grew once the federal targets ceased
to bite.

JOHN BOSHIER: The present situation was becoming untenable, quite frankly. The different state
schemes meant that there was overlap between them, they were inconsistent. More and more generators
are becoming national generators and what that means is that they need to do national policies.

MARTJIN WILDER, BAKER & MCKENZIE: This is really a re-commitment to the existing sort of approach
the Federal Government had previously, and that will consolidate the existing state measures into
one measure. So it'll make it administratively more efficient. But what we really need is a more
robust target which really drives investment in solely renewables, not just in clean coal

MATT PEACOCK: Clean energy consultant Martjin Wilder thinks the Government's announcement will do
little to boost renewables like wind and solar.

MARTJIN WILDER: The net effect is that there'll not be a significant increase on the levels of
renewed energy generation that we currently have under the State managers.

MATT PEACOCK: So, essentially, no difference?

MARTJIN WILDER: No real difference, no.

MATT PEACOCK: But for the industry, Minister Ian Macfarlane, who was today briefing Australian
power generators, this is the next logical step after accepting the need for an emissions trading

IAN MACFARLANE: Having that in place, we were then able to set how we could also accelerate the
adoption of clean energy.

MATT PEACOCK: More is needed faster, according to Andrew Richards of Pacific Hydro, one of
Australia's leading suppliers of renewable energy.

ANDREW RICHARDS: Emissions are growing at 3 per cent per annum. So we've got a massive job ahead of
us just to stabilise emissions from the energy sector before we can even start to cut into it, so a
renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020 would make a substantial difference to that.

MARTJIN WILDER: If you want to boost the renewed energy industry by 15 per cent to 20 per cent, you
need to have a measure that focuses solely on renewables in a way that China has done by having a
15 per cent renewable energy target, or other countries who are looking at a 20 to 25 per cent
renewable energy target.

MATT PEACOCK: That's a view echoed by the Opposition's Peter Garrett, who says global warming is
worse than first thought.

PETER GARRETT: The time for action on climate change is clearly now. The latest scientific data
particularly with the ice melts in Antarctica and in the Arctic are very worrying.

MATT PEACOCK: But although Labor promises it will do more, it's yet to say what.

ANDREW RICHARDS: We would either hope to look to Federal Labor now to see what they have to offer
coming into the federal election as well. They have talked about a substantial increase in MRET and
we applaud that, and we're looking forward to see what their target is in the coming federal

PETER GARRETT: We think it needs to be a significant target, and we'll be able to make that
announcement and provide those details in plenty of time for people in the run-up to the election.

MATT PEACOCK: Plenty of time but not yet, says Labor, on one of the few areas that voters expect a
clear difference between the major parties. But time almost all world leaders now agree is one
thing we're running out of.

Consumers to feel drought's sting

Consumers to feel drought's sting

Broadcast: 24/09/2007

Reporter: Paul Lockyer

Both sides of Federal politics have today focused attention on the worsening drought. Farmers are
now comparing their plight to the 1930s Depression, which saw big numbers of debt strapped
landholders simply walk off the land, and consumers are expected to feel the sting of the drought
through climbing food prices and shortages in the months to come.


KERRY O'BRIEN: The Prime Minister has declared it a crisis, the Opposition agrees, and tomorrow
Cabinet is expected to approve still further assistance for Australia's drought affected farmers.

They're already receiving $26 million a week in drought relief, but with huge debts they're now
confronting the loss of yet another winter crop and a summer of severe water restrictions.

In the months to come consumers will feel the sting of the drought through climbing food prices and
shortages. Few irrigation or grain growing areas have been spared from the drought, which has had
some areas in its grip for five years or more.

Some farmers are now comparing their plight to the 1930s Depression which saw many debt strapped
landholders walking off their properties.

Paul Lockyer reports.

PAUL LOCKYER: For the third year in a row, bakers are confronting big increases in the price of
flour and other ingredients directly related to shortages caused by the drought. Consumers are
already feeling the impact.

SIMON BAKER, BAKER: We have had to pass on some of that increase to our customers by increasing the
price of our products. We don't really have much option in that regard.

PAUL LOCKYER: And the bakers are far from alone.

BEN FARGHER, NATIONAL FARMERS FEDERATION: We're going to see upward pressure at the supermarket on
food items, no doubt about that. International prices are high, and we've got supply constraints at
home. So it's going to impact right through the whole economy.

PAUL LOCKYER: And this is one of the major reasons for the price hikes to come. It's estimated that
every drought-filled day through spring claims another 150,000 tonnes of the wilting winter grain
crop. The crop is already expected to be at least 30 per cent smaller than original forecasts, but
it could be much lower than that.

BRUCE ESTENS, HARVESTING CONTRACTOR: Well, this one's a devastator. Last year there was a little
bit of subsoil moisture, crops hung on. What we're seeing this year are crops are dying in 10 days,
they're going from a reasonable crop to a wipe-out.

BEN FARGHER: People are writing off crop, putting stock onto crop. They're not going to be able to
get a crop this year. They're under a huge amount of pressure. We do have a crisis at the moment,
it's biting really, really hard and it's a concern not just for the regional areas, but for the
whole community.

PAUL LOCKYER: Apprehensive sheep producers are already offloading stock in big numbers. They can't
afford to pay the record high prices for feed, and don't know where they'll find the water for
their stock this summer.

Water storages in the Murray-Darling Basin are even lower than at this time last year, bringing
calls from the Prime Minister last week for urgent action to preserve supplies for the summer. Some
water has been made available to keep permanent plantings of fruit trees alive, but those critical
allocations run out at the end of the month.

COL THOMSON, NSW IRRIGATORS COUNCIL: Well, I guess the worst case scenario is you're going to lose
all the permanent plantings on the Murray. It's all based on irrigation, it's very, very arid
country, and if we don't have water, I think it's just going to be an absolute fallout.

BEN FARGHER: It's a major food bowl in this country and people are on the edge of losing their
productive capacity and it will take many, many years if they can indeed ever recover.

PAUL LOCKYER: Early winter rain had offered so much hope. Many wheat growing areas celebrated the
best start to a season in years, hoping to make up for lost harvests and retire some debt. They
again borrowed big to plant a crop that could have been a saviour for many in the rural sector.

BRUCE ESTENS, HARVESTING CONTRACTOR: At the end of June we were all thinking that this was it, and
this would save the day. But now it's buried us.

PAUL LOCKYER: Buried under a mountain of debt, not just from the failed crop.

BEN FARGHER: Because it was such a promising start, people have taken forward positions in the
market as well, and the price has gone up since then and, of course, they're not going to yield the
crop in many cases so they're exposed there.

PAUL LOCKYER: In some cases, growers entered forward contracts to sell wheat at $250 a tonne, only
to see the price soar over $400 a tonne. Now many face debts of half a million dollars or more to
pay off contracts of crop they can't deliver.

BRUCE ESTENS: It's just such a hopeless situation that they're having trouble getting their heads
around it. I don't think the enormity of this is still sinking in.

JEFF KENNETT, BEYOND BLUE: And you see amongst so many of the men, their eyes have glazed over.
We've lost them in the short term. They're so down, they've given up hope.

PAUL LOCKYER: Jeff Kennett has seen at first-hand the mental torment that has spread across
Australia as the drought has deepened.

JEFF KENNETT: As they try and just fathom out how they're going to survive, and to try and bring
men back from the brink, many of whom believe there's no point in living. And I know that sounds
terribly savage as an assessment, but I'm afraid it's reality.

PAUL LOCKYER: Tomorrow, Federal Cabinet will be asked to relax some of the conditions for drought
relief funding to make it more widely available to farming families.

But in some areas, properties are already coming on the market, and ageing farmers weighed under
huge debts are making comparisons now with the mass walk-offs that marked the 1930s Depression.

BEN FARGHER: For many people, they're really just at the end of the line and we're very worried
about it. Without wanting to be alarmist, we really have moved from a severe drought situation to
being on the verge of a crisis.

KERRY O'BRIEN: A bleak winter, and a depressing summer ahead. A bleak summer ahead. That report
from Paul Lockyer.

Getting the AIDS message across

Getting the AIDS message across

Broadcast: 24/09/2007

Reporter: Nick Grimm

Millions of children are AIDS orphans and one of them, Kevin Sumba, visited Australia recently to
attend the 4th International AIDS Conference and remind people of the terrible reality of the


KERRY O'BRIEN: Despite advances in treatment and education campaigns, statistics on the global HIV
AIDS epidemic continue to overwhelm. Last year the disease was responsible for the deaths of 3
million people, while another 40 million are now living with HIV.

But those figures are still only a small percentage of the total number of lives devastated as a
result of the spread of the virus. And now with concern growing that people are becoming complacent
again, perhaps the sad stories of one Australian woman and an African AIDS orphan will serve as a
reminder of the terrible reality of the disease.

Nick Grimm reports.

NICK GRIMM: His name is Kevin Sumba and he comes from a part of Africa where close to one in four
people is HIV positive. He was just seven years old when AIDS killed his father. Three years later,
he lost his mother, leaving him living alone in the shack his parents had owned.

KEVIN SUMBA: I live in a slum in Kenya, western part of Kenya, in Kisumu, and the house is made of
iron sheet, very rusty.

NICK GRIMM: Kevin Sumba might be one of countless AIDS orphans in Africa, but he's one of the few
who's grown up in front of a documentary maker's lenses.

(To Kevin Sumba) How hard is it to talk about AIDS in communities like yours in Kenya?

KEVIN SUMBA: You know, in (inaudible), my... where the stigma is still on, and it just confronts
someone coming into the open and seeing that I'm HIV positive. So they try to hide it.

I have lived alone for seven years. I need to learn about AIDS, because I want to survive. So many
in Kisumu people have it. I decided to stop asking questions in my community.

NICK GRIMM: US born filmmaker Miles Roston first met the young African seven years ago, surviving
as best he could.

MILES ROSTON (hugging Kevin Sumba): Nice to see you.

He had been living for two years by himself and no one had known he was in school, because he'd
been sneaking in so he wouldn't have to pay school fees.

KEVIN SUMBA: My mum passed away in the year 2000 and I was left alone to live by myself.

NICK GRIMM: A posh private school in Melbourne must be a bewildering place to visit, when home is
an African slum on the other side of the world. But the now 19-year-old Kevin Sumba has come here
to try to shake Australians out of their increasingly complacent attitude to HIV AIDS.

STUDENT (to Kevin Sumba): What was it like living alone at such a young age and having no one to
talk to?

KEVIN SUMBA: It was a very difficult moment for me, and most of the time I was very sad and lonely.
You can imagine, a 12-year-old boy living alone in a shack. Actually, life was terrible.

NICK GRIMM: But why does an African AIDS orphan come to Australia to warn about HIV AIDS? Well,
quite simply, Kevin Sumba sees the disease as a global problem affecting us all.

KEVIN SUMBA: If you talk to people, they see it and by hearing from us, and not from reading from
papers and all that stuff, they actually feel, they have the feeling, you know. And they change
their way of thinking.

ALISCHA ROSS, YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AGAINST HIV/AIDS: I think by Kevin coming to Australia, he's able
to put a human face to the devastation that we hear about AIDS orphans.

NICK GRIMM: Melbourne woman Alischa Ross has been sitting at Kevin Sumba's side as he's visited
Australian schools. Why? Well, she's one Australian who has a unique insight into the impact AIDS
has had on the Kenyan teenager's life.

ALISCHA ROSS (to students): I know what the pain of AIDS is because it took away my family, people
I love.

ALISCHA ROSS : My connection with HIV began 19 years ago, as a young girl my mum was diagnosed with

NICK GRIMM: Alischa Ross's mother Anne Rogerson contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. She only
discovered she had the illness when she became pregnant with another daughter.

ALISCHA ROSS: My sister, Elizabeth, passed away at the age of 18 months and she'd had a very sick
and traumatic infancy, childhood, and spent most of that time in and out of hospital.

NICK GRIMM: And of course you were to lose your mother and step-father?

ALISCHA ROSS: Yes. So it's like living with a ticking time bomb.

NICK GRIMM: A decade after her mother's death, Alischa Ross is now CEO of an organisation called
Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS. Known more simply as YEAH. That's what brought her into contact
with the young subject of Miles Roston's documentary and his new book Kevin's Questions.

MILES ROSTON: The questions - the answers are really simple. Why does he need to suffer? Why do
children and people like him need to suffer?

NICK GRIMM: In a telling scene in the documentary, a community elder advises Kevin Sumba against
practising safe sex.

(Excerpt of documentary)

COMMUNITY ELDER (subtitles): Before you decide to be involved in sexual intercourse, don't even
think of using condoms but pray to the Lord.

(End of excerpt)

NICK GRIMM: Kevin Sumba's search for answers sees him visit politicians, church leaders, AIDS
clinics, and graveyards. He also meets fellow orphans, including those who end up on the streets, a
fate he admits he was lucky to avoid.

KEVIN SUMBA: When their parents die they have nowhere even to live, where they were living, they've
been chased away. So the only option is just to go to streets.

NICK GRIMM: They might come from very different worlds, but Kevin Sumba and Alischa Ross share more
than just an understanding of the stigma HIV/AIDS still carries.

KEVIN SUMBA: When I told most people about my story and they somehow get shocked... when they just
hear about AIDS, it's sort of stigmatisation is still on.

NICK GRIMM: You could say Kevin Sumba is one of the lucky ones. He'd never seen a beach before
coming to Australia, nor had he experienced many of the simple pleasures most Australians his age
take for granted.

ALISCHA ROSS: This is an Aussie tradition, you've got to have fish and chips on the beach.

NICK GRIMM: But the AIDS epidemic in his homeland is never far from Kevin Sumba's thoughts. That's
what drives his ambition to one day become a doctor, so he can help those less fortunate than him.

KEVIN SUMBA: AIDS is there and it is us who suffers, so, and this should end. We presently don't
have the cure for AIDS just to... but we can prevent it. So we should try as hard as we can to
prevent AIDS and everything else.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That report from Nick Grimm.

Mime artist bows out

Mime artist bows out

Broadcast: 24/09/2007

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

The world's best-known mime artist, Marcel Marceau, has died, aged 84. Kerry O'Brien spoke with him
when he visited in 2003.


KERRY O'BRIEN: Marcel Marceau, the greatest name in mime, is dead at 84.

The young Frenchman emerged from World War II where he had fought in the Resistance and helped
saved the lives of many fellow Jews, to singlehandedly resurrect the art form.

Inspired by the great silent screen stars, Charlie Chaplin in particular, Marceau formed what was
the world's only then mime company in 1949, and played around the world to rave reviews for the
next six decades.

His signature character was Bip the Clown, his own version of Chaplin's Little Tramp, and his
language on stage was universal. Here is part of an interview I recorded with the great man in
Melbourne four years ago.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Marcel Marceau, you were quoted once as saying, "Never let a mime talk, he won't
stop." Is that what happens after a night of silence on stage?

MARCEL MARCEAU: Well, I think that I don't feel sad and it's like speaking to people... singing. I
try to be deep in my art form, to bring laughters [sic], melancholy. I love the theatre and I think
that when I play my character Mr Bip and my numbers, I think I have a feeling that I enter deeply
in the theatre world, you see. Because I love to communicate with the people. They laugh all at the
right moment, they are moved at the right moment, and I think that silence for me does not exist. I
think it's the weight of the soul which comes out.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Yours has been a remarkable life so far. People say there's only one Marceau, just
as they say there was one Charlie Chaplin.

MARCEL MARCEAU: I met Chaplin in '67. I went to the airport, Chaplin and his wife Oona and five of
his kids were going to Verbier in Switzerland, and it's like a miracle meeting Chaplin, there was
no rendezvous specially. He came this day. And we met together, it was very moving because a moment
I said, "You know, when I was a child I imitated him, he was my God, and still he was my God." And
I started meeting, miming Chaplin and he, beside me, he did Chaplin, too. You see, the Tramp. And,
of course, then Oona said a certain moment, "Charlie, we have to go to Verviers," and I kissed his
hand, because I knew I wouldn't meet him again. And when I kissed his hand, he had tears in his
eyes. And I wonder why? I think because he knew that the time was no more before him, you see. It
was a sort of tristesse, a melancholy. I will never forget this moment when we met together.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What is it about mime? What is the magic of mime? What makes it special in the

MARCEL MARCEAU: The depth, the breathing, the depth, the looking, and to take everything deeply. If
I do this for instance, I feel that I am a bird. If I do this, I am fish. And I feel that if I do
this, it's like a song. And I think I want to show this depth in the art form. It's like... I would
say there is a certain magic. If this magic doesn't come out, we lose our public, making the
visible invisible, and the invisible, visible.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It's been a very long life on the stage, nearly 60 years. You've known and worked
with many famous artists. Is it possible to isolate the highlights, the precious moments?

MARCEL MARCEAU: I want always to bring emotion. I think this is important. I will tell you an
example. When I did the butterfly, the moment I kill the butterfly like a child, you know. And I
did this, and the people were moved. And then because I compared it to the heart, the feeling that
is extension of life. And when I did it at the beginning I didn't think it would be so deep. And
this is what I tried to do in every number.

If it's a cage, if it is a number which shows love, even in a number like the hands when I show the
evil and good with my hands. The whole body has to move, even if the hand. If I look for instance,
not only the eyes, it has to come out of every part of the body. You see, even if I do this, I
extend my hand, you see. It's musicality. It's deep, deep theatre. You see, words create images and
silence, I said, has to create the image, too. And this is what the people remember and they come
back for that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Of course, the world might have lost Marcel Marceau in World War II. As a French Jew
you had to survive the Holocaust. The Nazis took your father, killed your father, and you had to
survive your involvement in the French Resistance. What was the impact of that war on your art?

MARCEL MARCEAU: Well, I did a number called "Bip Remembers" about this - to fight for peace, no
more war. And I think that it made my art much deeper. And I think that I believe in humanity. I
think the time when people will form one world on this little planet and there will be peace, then
maybe we'll enter the golden age. For the moment, it's not the case. We can never forget what wars
did to people and we have to continue to learn from life and to bring enlightenment to humanity.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've created some classic characters over the years, do you have an all-time

MARCEL MARCEAU: Well, I think I make a selection. I tried to do the best life of a man from the
cradle to death, the hands as I said, the creation of the world, and even the Bip character. I
tried to show that I am like Don Quixote, a man who struggles with the windmills of life.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Marcel Marceau, thank you.

MARCEL MARCEAU: The rest, as Hamlet said, is silence. And I will do for the public, this.