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Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Climate Change – Morrison’s Bet Each Way

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With the excitement of the horse race that stops a nation, the Melbourne Cup, ringing in my ears, it seems appropriate to reflect on the position adopted by Prime Minister Morrison and his coalition government on net zero emissions by 2050.

The PM seems to be having a bet each-way; on one hand he appears reluctant, or unwilling, to be the leader we so desperately need. Morrison also seems to be blind to fossil fuels as a potent force with respect to mitigating carbon emissions, but curiously he acknowledges that change is inevitable declaring: ‘For Australia, it is not a question of if for net zero, but how’.

Professor Bob Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett in western NSW. Photo supplied.

After reaching an agreement with the Nationals the PM has taken a net zero 2050 emissions target to the Glasgow COP26 climate summit, but the details and modelling are at best scant. I would have been more comfortable if Australia’s message to COP26 represented a mandate from Australians rather than simply a deal hatched between political parties.

There is no debate about the important role that fossil fuels play with respect to employment and economic growth, but equally important is the need to acknowledge how destructive and unsustainable these particular energy sources are. In light of this, surely it behoves governments, industry leaders, indeed humanity, to adopt a future proofing view on such matters by committing to renewables as an energy source if the planet, and therefore humanity, is to survive. This is not scare mongering, it’s climate science.

I confess that I remain cynical about whether there is genuine political and industry resolve to accept and deal with climate change as a quintessential threat. My cynicism is fuelled, in part, by the vision of Morrison, then Federal Treasurer, marching into parliament in 2017 with a lump of coal in hand and taunting the house with quips such as: “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you.”

The stunt came after South Australia had experienced a devastating black out and the then treasurer warned “…if Bill Shorten becomes the prime minister, all the lights will go off around the country.”

This political lunacy and theatre contrasts with a conversation I had with some young people over dinner one evening. We discussed a number of matters, including the issues that had worried us older ones as we were growing up. I spoke about my experiences with racism and poverty and the fear and uncertainty that many young people of my generation had, including the Vietnam war, Apartheid in South Africa, and the possibility of a cataclysmic global nuclear war.

I shared the fear I felt as a young 13-year-old in 1962 when the USA and Soviet Union squared off over the Soviet’s plan to install missile launching capabilities in Cuba, just over 100 miles off the southern coast of the USA. These were tense times, and the world held its collective breath as it watched with fear and uncertainty the unfolding events. Thankfully the threat of nuclear oblivion was avoided, but the fear has never been completely eradicated.

After a few more stories, laughter and food I asked the young ones what their concerns were as Australia, and the rest of the world, marches headlong into their future and the 21st century.

They identified two main issues that concerned them; climate change and social inequality. I had a sense that the young ones genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to share their views because their voice is often ignored, underestimated and mostly reduced to notions of unpragmatic idealism.

Similar sentiments were shared by US National Youth Poet Laureate and activist, 23-year-old Amanda Gorman, speaking at US President Joe Biden’s inauguration where she shared her poem [ITAL]The Hill We Climb[/ITAL] reciting:

‘And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters, and conditions of man.

And so, we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.’

Ah, the wisdom of youth. I hope that the current generation of decision-makers, many of whom will unlikely be around in 2050, realise they have no right to deny youth, nor the planet, their common and shared future.

‘We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.’ –Native American Proverb.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Morrison is a gold standard scam artist, he can just about sell anything to anyone, he is dangerous, he and his shonky Govt. have got to be removed by ANY means possible; even if climate change was taken off the agenda, there are a million other reasons to remove this seriously bad Govt. It’s time to forget the ideology and stop the nit-picking, because if Morrison’s Govt. gets another three years and with the power of the fossil-fuel industry behind them, they will try and make it almost impossible to remove them.

  2. Eachway Albo !! Anyway the wind blows
    Albo will be on board.. has not been a temperature rise for the past 15 years .
    Albo will be asked during the election campaign as was Shorten
    How much is Labor’s energy policies
    going to cost the Australian taxpayer’s ?
    Mr Shorten could not answer… will Albo ?
    Oh by the way Keith Labor were once a party
    For the workers not anymore..

  3. Eachway Albo !! Anyway the wind blows
    Albo will be on board.. has not been a temperature rise for the past 15 years .
    Albo will be asked during the election campaign as was Shorten
    How much is Labor’s energy policies
    going to cost the Australian taxpayer’s ?
    Mr Shorten could not answer… will Albo ?
    Oh by the way Keith Labor were once a party
    For the workers not anymore..

  4. Yeah N.See you better believe it.. our local
    Government that being the Byron Shire
    Council have a responsibility to make sure
    Our assets are looked after .. as per rates
    We pay .. so yeah clean the waterways up
    Including Waterlilly park..

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