Aslan Shand, acting editor
As the Australian government touted its allegedly green credentials at US President Joe Biden’s climate summit last week, it only became clearer that our conservative politicians have been left behind on climate action.
Our PM, Scott Morrison, brought no extra commitments to the table above the Abbott-era 26–28 per cent cut, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030. He then attempted to present the idea that Australia has had a reduction of 36 per cent, compared to 2005 levels, but this is only if you exclude exports, particularly gas. There was no explanation as to the validity of these numbers on cuts, as reported in The Guardian (https:// bit.ly/3xv3Flo).
Then, on Monday 26 April, the Australia Institute revealed that Australian government fossil-fuel subsidies reached $10.3 billion in the last financial year.
‘That’s $19,686 a minute spent on fossil fuel subsidies,’ the Institute noted and described it ‘as irresponsible from an economic perspective and inexcusable through a climate lens’.
‘Coal, oil and gas companies in Australia give the impression that they are major contributors to the Australian economy, but our research shows that they are major recipients of government funds,’ said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.
While we are taking significant action as individuals on reducing emissions – Morrison boasted that Australia has ‘the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the world’ – our leaders are failing us. It is now apparent that Australians, you and I, have to hold our governments, both state and federal, to account for their mismanagement of climate action for decades.
The continuing push to expand gas as part of the COVID recovery, the billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money given to the fossil-fuel industry, the cost in lives and livelihoods of climate-driven disasters, including flooding and the Black Summer fires, should be driving home the damage this government is doing to the future of – Australia and the world – through its inaction.
Now is the time to demand action from your local representatives. Now is the time to let them know that your vote will only be won if they choose a better future and act now. Otherwise it is time to put your hand up and win the votes yourself, as did independents Zali Steggall and Helen Haines.
Plato put the problem succinctly: ‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors’.
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