It is not called the ‘climate crisis’ for nothing. Our world is rapidly changing, climate change is real, and it is assisted by humans with the capability to destroy societies, economies and cultures. The argument that ‘humans don’t cause climate change’ is proven to be false. There is no argument, there is no debate, humans contribute to climate change. We need to acknowledge that first so that we can move forward in discussing how we can help to solve the problem.
Australian government. If we don’t act now on climate change, there will be lasting consequences for future generations. On our coasts, where 85% of our population lives, rising sea levels resulting from climate change exacerbate coastal erosion, increase the risk of flooding for low-lying communities and damage coastal and natural assets. For our cities, the hotter and drier conditions can increase the risk of bushfires and heatwaves, leading to a higher risk of human injury and interrupted labour force productivity. Moreover, damage could occur in ecosystems that support social wellbeing, providing services such as clean air and fresh water, and offer protection from natural disasters. A failure in one part of a city’s social, economic or infrastructure networks can have a domino effect in creating further consequences in other areas. In rural communities, we have already witnessed over the past 12 months the impact of drought, increasing cases of mental health issues and negatively impacting the economy.
There is a climate crisis that is caused by humans. It is currently and will continue to have detrimental consequences for Australia. The logical next step is the creation of long-term solutions.
The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) is an independent scientific analysis agency which tracks climate action progress since 2009 regarding the globally agreed aim of holding warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The CAT has released some disappointing data relating to Australia’s policies on climate control:
– The Australian government has turned its back on global climate action by dismissing the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and announcing it would no longer provide funds to the Green Climate Fund
– Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels and industry continue to rise, now 7% above 2005 levels and are increasing by around 1% per year on average since 2014. Therefore, Australia is headed for an 8% increase of emissions above 2005 by 2030, rather than the 14-17% decrease in emissions required to meet Australia’s Paris Agreement target.
Australia is not assisting in the reduction of emissions, and the conversations in government regarding the creation of a new coal power plant further demonstrates Australia’s failure to seek the complete removal of coal by 2050.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently come under attack regarding his actions at the Pacific Islands Forum this week, which focused primarily on dealing with climate change. Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu and host of the Forum, rallied to gain the support of Australia in signing a climate change agreement, however; no declaration was formally accepted. Mr Morrison repeated the line, “Australia alone cannot cool the planet”, highlighting another excuse of the government to do nothing. Yes, of course, Mr Morrison, Australia cannot cool the planet alone, but we, fortunately, live in a country of great wealth and power, and we must lead the way for other nations.
Dear Australian government, we need a long-term plan to phase out coal-fired power stations and prepare structures to support mining communities for a transition away from coal and into renewable energy.
Dear Australian government, we need to know precisely what our targets are and how we aim to achieve them. Have a goal and strive for it. The rest of the world are taking a stance against countries who fail to acknowledge the climate crisis, and if we continue down this trajectory, issues in free trade talks could increase in number.
Dear Australian government, let’s develop a policy on climate change. Why? We need to be focusing on ourselves, not other countries, right? Wrong. It is in our interests to fight against climate change because it threatens our own living standards. Australia is already highly susceptible to natural disasters such as floods and bushfires, these disasters affect every sector of Australian life. Let’s create a policy for Australian, and in doing so, we help the rest of the world at the same time.
The time is NOW. This is not an opportunity to ‘wait and see what happens’ or wait for other nations to start the race before us. Let’s get out of the blocks fast, set an example to the rest of the world, and champion a policy of climate change, allowing future generations to prosper in a land which abounds in nature’s gifts.