Few MPs would have worked harder to defend their seats at this election than Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose blue ribbon Sydney seat of Wentworth is under siege not just from Labor but a range of environmental activists, mostly coalescing around the Greens.
But in the second week of the campaign, Mr Turnbull found the time to announce that the Government, already in caretaker mode, would bankroll to the tune of $10 million the investigation of an untried Russian technology that aims to trigger rainfall from the atmosphere, even when there are no clouds.
From the deck of the research ship Weatherbird II, a California company hopes to prove a controversial theory that putting iron dust in the ocean can produce enough plankton to help save the Earth.
The mission of the company behind the ship, Planktos Corp, is to research whether “iron seeding,” or “iron enrichment” – dumping tons of pulverised iron ore into the ocean – can catalyse the growth of microscopic algae that will then suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says Australia will be pushing for a declaration on climate change at a meeting of Asian nations in Singapore.