The Australian Governent, led by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to bury its head in the sand with its failure to effectively address the current climate crisis.
The recent report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) advised the earth has already reached 1.1 degrees above pre industrial levels. This is much faster than predicted and indicates the goal to keep the earth’s temperature below 1.5 degress above pre industrial levels is in doubt. The report found that ” unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.”
Scott Morrison’s government focuses on economic growth and re-election while ignoring the climate crisis
Scott Morrison’s governments response, or rather lack of response, to climate change is frankly alarming. He continues to put the focus on the fact that other countries are bigger emitters than Australia and to state he is not prepared to sign a “blank cheque” in regard to reducing emissions if this puts a strain on the economy. He continues to focus on a “gas led recovery “ when clearly, continuing to invest in fossil fuels is just compounding the problems. By failing to act on climate change, he will ensure economic loss in the future due to continuing catastrophic events such as much of Australia has experienced in the last couple of years.
The fact that the government promotes new gas plants and new coal mines is environmental vandalism. We have enough fossil based resources already in place in this country to be able to transition to renewable energy sources while maintaining services. Adding new fossil based energy into the mix is purely for economic and political advantage.
The government is very adept at the art of spin, and are very secretive about what goes on within the cabinet. The “facts” they report should be viewed skeptically, as frequently the truth is withheld from the public.
What should we be achieving?
The Paris Agreement target of net zero emissions by 2050 requires a stepping up of the targets every 5 years in order to reach this. Other countries have announced their intentions of when they will reach this goal but Australia stubbornly refuses to do so.
Not only is the Australian government continuing to invest in fossil fuels but also allowing unacceptable levels of deforestation, all for economic gain. Scientists and conservationists say they believe that logging isn’t just environmentally unviable, but economically reckless, especially since the harvested timber is simply used to make wood chips and paper pulp.
Carbon emissions released by land clearing across Australia are equivalent to about a third of the total emissions released by all of the coal-fired power stations in the country. Once native forest logging emissions are included, this is equivalent to at least half the carbon pollution of all Australian coal-fired power stations. The government conveniently omits to include carbon emissions from fires, deforestation or exports of coal when reporting our emissions.
The Australian Conservation Foundation undertook an analysis of corporate emissions data, collected and published by the Clean Energy Regulator, and it shows that Australia’s emergence as the world’s largest gas exporter has helped drive global emissions higher overseas, as well as locally. Natural gas mostly consists of methane, which as a global warming potential is 28-times worse than that of carbon dioxide. The growth of Australia’s gas industry is leading to increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The sad reality is that our emissions are much higher than what is reported.
New gas projects will lock in decades more climate pollution and risk becoming stranded assets as the world continues moving to clean energy
Australia will come under increasing pressure to make changes
The former President of Ireland Mary Robinson questions whether Mr Morrison has in fact read the report given his lack of action – see clip
By international standards, Australia is lagging behind in our response to climate change. Scott Morrison continues to say that Australian’s support the government lack of action on climate change. This could not be further from the truth as most citizens are becoming more and more disillusioned by the lack of policy and inaction. Our close pacific neighbours, who are dealing with rising sea levels which will inevitably make their homes uninhabitable are becoming increasingly frustrated. In fact it is so dire that it could result in many of the Pacific island nations being wiped from the map of the world in the not so distant future.. They are continuing to voice their concerns and urging the Australian Government to implement some appropriate climate policies.
It seems our government is hell bent on continuing to support large corporations to make money and to ignore the concerns and welfare of the masses. Thankfully business leaders are stepping up and investing in renewable resources. This is really the only reason there is any positive action. We obviously cant rely on the government to take the lead on dealing with climate change. As individuals we need to make our vote count and ensure the next government is held to account and that they have strong climate change policies in place.
There needs to be a concerted effort on the governments part to promote and develop sustainable industries for the future of the environment and which will provide economic benefit to the population instead of continuing to extend the fossil fuel era and all the damage that will entail.
Do we still have time to reverse climate change?
“Half of all of the emissions ever produced in the entire history of humanity have come in just the last 25 years. That’s since Al Gore published his first book on warming. It’s since the premier of “Friends”. To pull up short of what was once called a catastrophic level of warming, (2 degrees), requires us to decarbonize at least as fast as that, and possibly faster”David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth.
Climate change scenarios if we go over 2 degrees above pre industrial levels
Scientists warn that temperature rises above 1.5 degrees will lead to more heatwaves, extreme rainstorms, water shortages and drought, greater economic losses, lower crop yields, higher sea levels and destruction of coral reefs.
Loss of Species and Extinction — At 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, 6 percent of the insects, 8 percent of the plants and 4 percent of the vertebrates will see their climatically determined geographic range reduced by more than half.
At 2 degrees Celsius, this proportion doubles for plants and vertebrates. For insects, it triples. Such high levels of species loss will put many ecosystems across the world at risk of collapse. … At 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, we could expect to lose between 70% and 90% of our coral reefs.
To have any chance of limiting temperature rise to 1.5˚C, global emissions must fall at least 50 percent by 2030. This is extremely unlikely to happen and so we need to prepare for a future of more frequent climate catastrophes such as fires, flooding and more frequent extreme heat waves.
The future is not clear as there are many complex factors involved in climate change
It’s very clear that many countries are not being aggressive enough in making the necessary changes to reduce carbon emissions. Australia is in fact heading in the opposite direction with opening new coal mines and setting up a new gas plant. Every emission counts towards the warming of the planet, so as individuals we too should be responsible for trying to reduce our own emissions.
It is urgent that we are vocal in our demand for better policies and more action from the government to curb emissions as quickly as possible.
Take Action towards positive change:
Join an environmental group such as the Wilderness Society; The Australian Conservation Foundation; Friends of the Earth Australia; Greenpeace Australia; Australian Forests and Climate Alliance; Citizens Climate Lobby Australia
Contact your local member to find out what action is being taken in your locality in regard to climate change.
Write to the Minister for the Environment – The Hon Susan Ley:
PO Box 672
Albury, NSW, 2640 or use the contact form on the website
Write to the Prime minister – Scott Morrison:
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600 Albury, NSW, 2640 or use the contact form on the website
The Climate crisis is real. Make your vote count at the next election by voting for the party with with strongest climate policies.