One of the most toxic effects of a decade of climate skepticism and Greenie-bashing from the Howard Government has been the impact on the media. Journalists tell stories of pressure from Ministerial advisors and the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’ in industry when they debunk nuclear power, clean coal or talk about the most worrying climate impacts.

It is disappointing but not that surprising that the Australian would verbal the most important climate watchdog in the world, to maintain the skeptical position on climate action.

ABC’s Media Watch last night focused on a story that had been in The Australian last week claiming that Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the renown Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agreed with the Howard Government’s decision of waiting until “the full facts are known” before taking action on climate change.

Dr Pachauri has written to the newspaper saying he never said any such thing. He states in a letter to Matthew Warren from The Australian, “I am surprised that a very general opinion that I expressed without reference to any country was twisted around to create the impression that I supported the current government’s stance on climate change”.

Every single person, every media outlet, every business and every government in Australia needs to get on the same page – climate change is real, it is happening now and if we want to avoid catastrophic changes to the global climate system, the discussions should be about how we move forward, not how we drag out feets and protest the whole way.

And the litmus test for whether John Howard is serious about taking action on climate change is whether he supports a greenhouse reduction target for Australia based on what the science is telling us – and that is a 30% reduction in greenhouse emissions for all wealthy industrialised countries by 2020.