Two Prime Ministers

Its not often that I get the chance to photograph two prime ministers at once. And I turned down the only invitation I’ve had to actually photograph Blair inside No 10 Downing Street because it would have meant getting up earlier than usual and paying a peak hour rail fare!

But on Saturday, outside Australia House in the Strand, were Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon, looking rather brighter than usual.

It was a small demonstration against the destruction of ancient forests in Tasmania, where legislation to preserve the wild rainforest has been ineffectual and further clearance will be accelerated if the building of a new pulp mill is allowed.

Perhaps the forthcoming elections there will change things. Ironically, one of the economic incentives to the clearing of forests is carbon offsetting, as new plantations in the cleared space can be marketed to assuage the consciences of polluters. “Burning forests for tree farms”, as the protesters banner read, truly is a “carbon trading ripoff” and demonstrates the madness of the whole offsetting approach.

The only sensible way to attack increasing carbon dioxide levels is to cut carbon emissions, by using less carbon fuels, farming less cows, and repairing and re-using manufactured goods wherever possible (and, as a last resort, recycling.)

Personally, I’m feeling a little guilty as I’m planning to get on a plane in a few days. But it will be the first time for over 2 years, and only the third time in over 60. I think I’ve offset it by the many thousands of miles I’ve travelled by bicycle.

A few more pictures, as usualĀ 

Peter Marshall

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