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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Climate change – time to fix it

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Steve Posselt. File photo
Steve Posselt. File photo

‘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.

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  1. As the determined Ballina climate warrior Steve Posselt leant on his paddle to propel the kayak forward he exclaimed: “If we do everything we committed to in Paris we are dead meat,’”
    That is the resolute character of this Ballina Individual; firm, factual and formidable as he writes his claim against climate change with his paddle as he is always dipping in and dipping out against the tide and the gurgle of the waters of the world. There are not many men like Steve Posselt who tests his will and his strength against nature and the political might of other countries and the oceans.
    Paris … Paris and what is to be decided there about the climate is a city and citified notions that stands to be challenged according to Steve for Steve Posselt is flesh and blood Australian and not made of plaster.

  2. What a courageous commitment! So much determination! This trip will require an enormous effort from Steve. It will be exhausting and it will be dangerous. Our Federal Government’s approach to climate change is to deny its existence. They are ignoring the huge majority of intelligent Australians who want to see our politicians show some leadership on the issue of Climate Change. We are indeed facing a Climate Crisis (Catastrophe)! Thankfully Steve Posselt, a genuine hardworking unsung hero, is prepared to bust his gut again in a supreme effort to shake us, and our political leaders, out of the lethargic mood that has engulfed our nation in recent years. If you are concerned about the environmental, economic and social costs of climate change, and want to see some action, get behind Steve! Sign the petition, tell your friends, share his story and help generate some momentum for a groundswell of interest and education in climate science, that demands immediate action! Support Steve’s Climate Emergency Journey!

  3. I wish Steve Prossett the best of luck and Godspeed with his journey, but suggest he would do better to address climate change by acting locally in practical ways. In the recent council election he and his Green mates were unable to provide me with any specific action to improve public transport or cycling in the Ballina area. They were happy to support the return of a very inefficient train to service a minority of the area’s population, but had nothing to offer by way of better buses to help the people in Ballina and its environs who want to get where they need to go without being dependent on cars.

  4. Yes there is climate change but can we say that it is definitely caused by human activity no. The sun is in a cycle of warming. When a volcano erupts and emits more co2 than we have ever produced I’m find the evidence weak. We’re probably not helping but I think we have minimal impact certainly not enough to bring taxes and levies

  5. Come on Jack, read real science, The sun’s changes are tiny compared with the increasing radiative forcing from human added CO2 (equal to the added energy released by 400,000 Hiroshima atom bombs/day). And, volcanic activity is measured as no match for human releases for CO2 – 7 billion humans all demanding we burn more fossil fuels. Just get real and stop accepting the B/S paid for by the big polluters in order to keep their profits flowing.


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