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Byron Shire
December 1, 2022

With everything to lose, time for govt to ‘step up’ climate action, says Climate Council

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Lismore locals hold signs for Scott Morrison. Lismore, 9 March 2022. Photo Paul Daley.

An Australian ‘let it rip’ climate strategy is taking a terrible toll on communities, the Climate Council says, as people on the Northern Rivers reel from recent flood disasters.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says Prime Minister Scott Morrison completely failed to address the issue at the heart of the unprecedented disaster when he visited Lismore on Wednesday.

‘Our Prime Minister stood in front of the people of Lismore, in front of the country’s media and spoke about “unprecedented natural disasters” and a “national catastrophe”, Ms McKenzie said via a media statement.

But the PM failed to even mention the term ‘climate change’.

Lismore locals with climate signs wait for Scott Morrison to arrive in Lismore, 9 March 2022. Guarded by police. Photo Paul Daley.

The connection wasn’t lost on protestors outside the Lismore City Council chambers in Goonellabah, where the heavily policed media conference was held.

Members of the Greens and other environment advocates held placards with messages such as ‘will coal and gas pay for this?’.

‘Australia ranks dead last out of major developed nations when it comes to cutting emissions,’ Ms McKenzie said, ‘no amount of spin can change that’.

Coalition’s abysmal climate action record

The Climate Council CEO said the Liberal-National Party had an abysmal track record on climate change.

Ms McKenzie recounted the coalition government drastically slashing funding for climate science and dismantling the Climate Commission.

‘There’s been no meaningful climate action in eight years,’ Ms McKenzie said.

‘It’s not good enough, the next parliament must work harder to see emissions plummet this decade.’

Minister for emissions reductions promotes more fossil fuel

Ms McKenzie pointed to signs the government wasn’t taking climate change seriously, even in face of the flooding disasters in Queensland and New South Wales.

While the prime minister was speaking to a carefully restricted crowd in Goonellabah, the federal minister for industry, energy, and emissions reductions, Angus Taylor, was saying he wanted to accelerate oil and gas.

‘Australians are paying a high price for the lack of meaningful national action to tackle climate change and our elected leaders must be held accountable,’ Ms McKenzie said.

Pressure on next government to take climate action

The Climate Council was calling on all federal political parties and candidates to tell Australians what concrete steps they would take to prepare emergency services and communities for inevitable climate-fuelled disasters.

The council also wanted the same politicians to ‘actively’ acknowledge the destructive role climate change was playing in driving worsening disasters.

A public plan in the next term of federal parliament for rapidly reducing emissions and rapidly scaling up readily available renewable energy was needed, the council said.

Ms McKenzie said the next government would need to make sure towns, cities and communities were rebuilt to be climate change resilient.

‘It’s time to show leadership and step up to the most critical issue not just of our time, but all time,’ Ms McKenzie said, ‘we have everything to lose, the time for action is now’.

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  1. Now / NEVER is the time to talk about climate change.
    Premier Perrottet visits Lismore and does the street walk, unscripted meetings with locals as journos / media were free to join and cover events. President ScamMO visits Lismore and it the complete opposite. Tightly controlled stay in Lismore with scripted media / photo ops.
    The dude was too sacred to do a Perrottet and walk the streets. Instead our President ScamMO kept himself hidden inside and then made his ‘escape’without meeting any the waiting locals that were waiting all day outside
    What was he afraid of?????
    Not even time for a visit to a local church for prayers and thoughts to those that lost their lives.

  2. Has anyone thought about why the planet did not benefit from the almost 2 years of virtually no air, sea, car, truck or rail transport spewing pollutiants into the atmosphere. Of course our climate is changing, like everything else in this world.

    For some egotistical reason, scientists believe they can control mother nature, sorry this is not the case.

    Even thought the huge storm (supercell) has done massive amounts of damage, we should be grateful it did not turn into a massive cyclone, it behaved in a similar manner heading out to sea and then coming back to land but the forming of a cyclone did not happen.

    Why, why do people insist on living in the flood plains of any river, that includes me, cheaper prices perhaps once but not any more. We borrowed to raise our home to a 1 in 200 yrs flood and we were lucky the water did not come into the house.

    No one knows what our past weather patterns have been, Australia has only been recording weather since white settlement, so it is not a long period and we have nothing to compare our current patterns to.

    It seems far simpler to cry climate change and if we stop all coal mining and mining in general this would not have happened. What part of stupid do you think I am, I have a brain and i use it.

    • “ I have a brain and i use it”

      Well, we’re all looking forward with bated breath for a demonstration of that fact.

    • Marianne, it is about Science, Climate Science. The Greenhouse Effect.
      It isn’t that hard to understand, our kids learn it in school – it s humans that send greenhouse gas pollution from the burning fossil fuels like coal. oil and gas, into the atmosphere. We are reaping what we sow.
      You might like to look up some of the UN / IPCC Reports over the last 30 years, it isn’t secret.

  3. I believe that, based on advice from the climate change experts, Amanda McKenzie also said Lismore should be moved out of the floodplain.

    Why won’t Lismore listen to the climate change experts?


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