Coal-fired coalition

Keith Duncan, Pimlico

Well done, Ms Aslan Shand, acting Echo editor, on your great editorial (July 4 Nats fail farmers).

At last a local newspaper has the balls to call this betrayal by conservative elements in this country for what it is. But let’s not stop with just the Nationals; everyone knows they’re hopeless, half of the Liberal Party are just as bad.

What a travesty that we’ve been burdened by a federal government that for the last decade has done everything within its power to totally ignore the science on global warming and on coming to power totally wrecked all existing policy on limiting CO2 emissions and an emerging renewable- energy industry.

Even more disgusting is the fact that ‘our’ coal-fired coalition government has been accepting millions of dollars in donations from the fossil-fuel industry to stop or severely disrupt the transition to a low-carbon future. It is political bastardry at its worst.

We long-suffering consumers have paid dearly in electricity prices because of the inability of the energy sector to adequately plan for the future, and doesn’t it make a mockery of the government’s claim to have a ‘responsible economic plan for the future’?

Now even the dumbest of climate-change deniers are starting to begrudgingly admit what most intelligent people have known for 30 years or more – that the world is heating up.

The past five years have been the hottest on record, and 17 of the 18 hottest years on record all occurred this century. There is only one way to fix this mess: GET RID OF THEM.

2 responses to “Coal-fired coalition”

  1. m gardner says:

    Yes I agree!. Great analysis by A Shand. The great importance of change in government at every level in the next elections was also the point made at Will Steffen’s recent talk. I include a review of that night here.
    To avoid global catastrophe, our society has two years at most to start acting on plans to achieve zero carbon emissions in every workplace and home by 2025. With this statement, Professor Will Steffen launched his new global tour The Big U-Turn Ahead to a full house at Byron Theatre on 27 June. Professor Steffen, of Australian National University, is one of the world’s foremost specialists in Earth System science and a leader in international global change research. The event was hosted by Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB) and chaired by Mick O’Regan.

    Christobel Munson, spokesperson for ZEB, explained that with state and federal elections coming up in 2019, ‘it’s time to start rattling the cage’. Both levels of governments have not created action plans to reduce Australia’s emissions.

    From the panel, Sue Higginson, environmental lawyer and Greens candidate for State seat of Lismore, described the international trade tours conducted by the current NSW government. Their objective is to sell more coal to be sourced from new coal mines which together will exceed the size of the Adani mine proposed in Queensland.

    Tony Pfeiffer, chair of Enova, cited the ZEB calculation of yearly emissions in Byron Shire to be 8 tonnes per person. This is half of the Australian average but double the global average.

    Professor Steffen explained what this means in terms of the carbon crunch. If carbon emissions were to peak sometime during 2016-2020 and society is carbon neutral by 2040, there is almost a 70% chance that global temperatures would only rise by 2 degrees Celsius. Twenty years may be enough time for society to make that u-turn. If peak carbon is delayed to 2025, zero carbon must be reached by 2035, in only half the time.

    The planet is one wholistic system already responding the climate change. Since the 1950s, its oceans absorbed 93% of the carbon emissions, expanding and raising its level. Global land and ice each absorbed 3% in total. Although the atmosphere absorbed only 1%, extreme weather is already changing the planet. For example, the 2016 bleaching event of the Great Barrier Reef was 175 times more likely to happen simply because the Earth System had already changed so much.

    In places such as Byron Shire, even the minimal 30 cm projected rise in sea level may alter 30 metres of coast inland; 90 cm a corresponding 90 metres. To join the global effort to reach zero emissions, start with the actions list posted by ZEB on their Facebook page. As Will Steffen said, the urgency and the magnitude of the social action required is great. At stake are the lives of 6 of the 7.5 billion humans, not to mention other life on Earth itself.

    Check the back issue of the Echo for the graph Steffen presented that night.

  2. Joe says:

    Nicely stated, Keith Duncan. I call them ‘Climate Criminals’, Big Fossil Fuel and the COALition government. They willfully ignore the science. Exxon’s own scientists knew about the link between Fossil Fuel burning and climate change but the Exxon execs kept it quiet to protect their own interests. With increasing legal actions being mounted around the world it shouldn’t be too long before a recalcitrant government, like ours in Australia, is prosecuted for crimes against humanity ie failure to act on climate change.

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