‘If we do everything we committed to in Paris we are dead meat,’ said local Ballina climate warrior Steve Posselt. This is the reason Steve is bringing his kayak, Old Yella, out for one last trip – because current commitments to reduce greenhouse gasses are just not enough. Having kayaked around Australia and the world since 2007 raising awareness on climate change and the need for immediate action he was sure that the Paris commitments were not enough to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees. The May release of the paper by David Spratt ‘Climate reality check – After Paris, counting the cost’ confirmed this.
‘Given the latest evidence, it is almost impossible to now keep the temperature increase below 1.5°C or even 2°C with the current approaches,’ says Ian Dunlop, former chair, Australian Coal Association, who wrote the forward to the paper. ‘We have left it too late to solve the climate dilemma with a graduated response; emergency action, akin to placing economies on a war footing, remains essential.’
Old Yella is starting her last trip from Ballina on New Years day. The 1200km journey down the coast to Moruya and then 180km dragging the kayak up the mountains to Canberra will end on the 25th February.
Having started his trip to the 2015 Paris climate conference in Canberra he first went to the Americas before heading to Paris. ‘I think I’m the only person to paddle up the Mississippi River in a flood,’ he laughed. Having been criticised for the timing of some of his trips Steve points out that when you have a trip organised you have to ‘go when you go. You live it – like life.’ However he says it took him eight months to recover from the Paris trip both physically and mentally.
‘This will definitely be my last walking trip, my knees are buggered and the kayak has been patched so many times – it wouldn’t make another one. So I thought I’ll finish it off by paddling back to Canberra.’
The aim is to deliver 100,000 signatures for the Climate Emergency Declaration. The petition requests both the house of representatives and senators to declare a climate emergency and mobilise resources to restore a safe climate. They currently have just under 8,000 signatures so sign the petition online here.
A fellow of the Australian institute of engineers Steve will hand the 100,000 signatures to Engineers Australia. ‘Everyone keeps going on about it all being post fact – but we’ve got to fight for the facts,’ said Steve. ‘The technology is there. We just need the engineers fix it.’
Events will be taking place as Steve paddles Old Yella down the coast then drags her in a harness to Canberra. A list of events and times are listed on his website.