The Coalition Government has been elected for another 3 years. In the last 6 years, Australia's emissions have increased significantly (up 4%, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory). The government removed the carbon price legislation and is allowing existing industry to increase their emissions levels. We aren’t on target to reach 26% reduction from 2005 levels regardless of what the Prime Minister claims.
We rely on the environmental systems around us for our food, clean water and air. 10,000 years of stable climate has supported the development of our civilization and we depend on these environmental services for our very survival.
Climate zones are already migrating. The bands of desert that surround our planet on both sides of the equatorial zone are moving towards the poles. The deserts of central Australia are expanding southward into areas where we grow a large part of Australia’s food. The same is happening in Europe, the USA and Asia.
Global warming (the result of climate change driven by our greenhouse gas emissions) is destroying whole ecologies. Extreme events are increasing with heat waves killing more people in Australia than our road toll. Global warming is an unfolding disaster - a clear and present danger to all people across the globe.
The IPCC Special Report issued last October (SR15) made it clear that we must act now to ensure we leave a livable planet to our children. We must avoid triggering dangerous thresholds where climate mechanisms start to drive us irrevocably into chaos. We have run out of time.
All governments must prioritize emergency emissions reduction ahead of all other policy. As our children's movement School Strike for Climate has stated, we must ban new exploitation of fossil fuels and instigate rapid closure of our current fossil fuel usage. This position is not radical. It is the absolute minimum action needed to respond to this threat.
Our ancestors innocently started this process. We have had a small taste this decade of extreme events and damage to global treasures (e.g. Great Barrier Reef). The next decade will be ten times worse.
We have the technologies to begin the transition - solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, pumped water storage, electric vehicles, etc. The cost of these is dropping rapidly with some already less than or close to the fossil fuel alternatives.
We must call for an emergency response by all levels of government to cease all support for the fossil fuel industry, instigate rapid and just transition of our economy to zero emissions and prepare for the impacts that are already inevitable.
The Federal Government must cease its stalling and implement the necessary actions now. There will be costs, but these are insignificant compared to the impacts of rampant unchecked global warming.