Abigail have a powerful speech about the significance of this month's 'climate election'. It is clear we are getting absolutely nothing from either of the major parties on climate action...
Before the Federal election campaign began, we heard a lot about it shaping up to be the "climate election". Seemingly every week another so-called Teal Independent puts up their hand and pledges to do better than the very low bar set by the Coalition Government when it comes to addressing climate change. Yet, far from this being the election with a clear vision from the major parties or the Teal Independents on what our future can look like under a decarbonised economy, everyone except for The Greens has attempted to fit their square climate policies into a very round business-as-usual hole. Newsflash: Just pledging a particular target to reduce greenhouse emissions, without other concrete actions and plans for a decarbonised economy, is not going to achieve anything. We actually must make changes to the way we do things.
The message coming out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports could not be clearer. Governments must act swiftly and decisively to cut emissions and cease the extraction and burning of fossil fuels this decade. Only a whole-of-government approach is sufficient to introduce and enforce the broad, society‑wide changes necessary to avert the very worst of the climate catastrophe. Globally, we have seen incremental improvements, sector by sector or region by region, but it is still inadequate in the face of what is necessary. A society‑wide diversification away from fossil fuels towards a clean, green and prosperous future will require massive levels of coordination and support. There are jobs that exist today that students leaving school in coming years will not be able to move into.
This is an exciting time but it is also a nervous time for communities that have become economically reliant on fossil fuels. It is the role of government to lead and shepherd. It is something too important to be left to profit‑seeking private industries. Climate 200, or Teal Independents, says it supports action on climate change, but in many cases that is as far as it will go. We welcome any support for stronger action on climate change and the announced carbon emissions targets of the Teal Independents are better than that of Labor and the Coalition, but none of them has a plan that will achieve what we need to avoid catastrophic levels of climate change. Only The Greens have a fully developed plan to power past coal and gas and that matches the scale and pace of action that climate science demands, with a net zero target by 2035.
I was asked in a radio interview last week why I thought the major parties would commit themselves to such woefully inadequate emissions targets and then fail to even back up those commitments with any real action. I think they are stuck between on the one hand the realisation that accepting the science of climate change means we need to move away from coal and gas and on the other hand knowing that they cannot take any real action to address climate without it impacting on the large fossil fuel interests that pay for their campaigns and pull their strings. So it is that Labor has again joined the Liberals in backing coal over climate, having chosen to exempt every coalmine from its proposed emissions safeguard mechanism. Does that sound familiar? I am sure we had this discussion in 2009. Nothing has changed. Climate policies that do not acknowledge that global coal consumption will need to fall rapidly is no climate policy at all. Unlike the other parties, The Greens do not take large corporate donations. Untethered from vested interests, we are able to take policies to elections based on science and evidence and with a vision that is unafraid of changing from business as usual.
The full transcript can be found in Hansard, here.