The following is a post from Natalie Isaacs, 1MW founder and CEO.
I wouldn’t mind the national election campaign being so boring, except that it’s so important for our climate future. Besides the fact that it proved completely uninspiring, last Sunday’s leaders’ debate was a manifestation of the way the climate crisis is being handled by both of the main parties.
Firstly, neither Prime Minister Kevin Rudd nor Opposition Leader Tony Abbott addressed the issue until a journalist asked a question about it. And that was 45 minutes into an hour-long debate.
PM Rudd stated that ‘carbon emissions are stopping increasing’, as evidence that we’re seeing the results of real policy. This may be, but these results are fragile and it is questionable whether they can be linked back to policy.
“What really frightens the hell out of me too (is the) impact on the Great Barrier Reef over time” – PM Rudd. We’re all frightened, PM, but we don’t see much happening to save this natural wonder.
Mr. Abbott said, “We will reduce emissions by 5% by 2020 using direct action.” Though information released from the Climate Institute today shows that coalition’s ‘direct action’ will not be meeting Australia’s pledged 5% reductions targets. The Opposition’s Environment spokesman, Greg Hunt stated the ‘direct action’ budget will not be extended despite a four billion dollar funding shortfall. (More about that here.)
What would happen if all countries adopted policies like the coalition’s? And what sort of local impacts could we expect?
That’s it. Both the Opposition and the Government have the same target, a 5% emission reduction by 2020 against a 2000 baseline, but that’s at the very bottom of the range that Australia should aspire to, with a target of at least 25% by 2020 being far more appropriate to respond to scientific warnings of our climate peril.
For those of us who are committed to action on climate change in our own lives, and expect it from our leaders to, this election is very scary. Yet the airtime the climate issue is receiving reflects the attitudes of many voters, who have been ranking climate change action 5th in policies that will affect their vote.
Over the next two years the world will be defining a new legal agreement to be voted on at the UN climate summit 2015, which will then set the agenda for climate change action post 2020. Yet in our domestic election, climate change barely rates a mention in the daily media sound bytes.
Out of the all of the advanced economy countries, Australia is the most vulnerable to dangerous climate change. Failure to act will result in a disproportionate impact on our economic and natural resources. We cannot continue to spend time and money deploying military and emergency services to cope with the impacts of climate change, like increased floods and droughts, yet not act on the causes.
Australia calls itself a leader, and the lucky country. How much longer can we cling to these labels when we fail to act on our greatest challenge?
Dangerous climate change is real and it’s now. We need to act, and come election time we need to remember how important climate action is to the future of our nation.
Do the 1MW election survey HERE.