Thousands of people around Australia have not given up on the Climate Change Bills. A concerted effort is underway to get them reintroduced into Parliament.
The recent IPCC report showed we are in a climate emergency. We must achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 to have any chance of preventing runaway global warming. Are you worried and don’t know what to do?
A Different Approach Community (ADAC) has been writing 227 letters a month to all Federal parliamentarians since 2019, asking for urgent action on climate change. They have devised this ingenious Mass Mailout for Climate campaign and have asked community groups to send letters to their MPs:
Throughout September, an expected 30,000 letters will be collected in a post office locked bag in Canberra and delivered to independent parliamentarian Zali Steggall at a media photoshoot event in October.
Visit the Mass Mailout for Climate website to view videos of Zali Steggall describing the campaign, get instructions on where to send your letters and some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Australia has not implemented an effective climate policy.
The Australian government has initiated a gas-led recovery rather than a green recovery, and has continued to signal its support for the coal industry.
The government has shown no intention of updating its Paris Agreement target nor adopting a net-zero emissions target, with the Prime Minister specifically ruling this out.
Renewable energy investments have dropped to 2017 levels due to the uncertainty in government policy direction.
There is a lack of climate action, despite rising climate impacts such as the catastrophic bushfires that enveloped several states in late 2019 and early 2020.
For the last six months the Climate Change Bill has been working its way through the Federal Parliament. The Bill was introduced by independent MP, Zali Steggall. The Bill is currently with the Environment and Energy Committee that is expected to report in June on the public consultation process that took place between January and March.
For the Bill to be debated in parliament, either:
a) the government must agree that a debate should take place, or
b) a majority of MPs in the House of Representatives must support what is called a “suspension of standing orders” to pause planned business and debate the Bill. For this to happen, at least two coalition MPs will need to vote in favour of a debate.
The Australian Federal Court heard a case this week that may have ripple effects around the world. The court found that the Environment Minister owes a duty of care to Australia’s young people not to cause them physical harm in the form of personal injury from climate change.
Eight young people had brought a class action on behalf of all Australian children and teenagers against the Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.
They argued that the Minister should not approve extensions to a coal mine as it would endanger their future. Whilst the young people were not able to stop the Minister from being able to approve the extension, they did make the case that climate change was reasonably foreseeable and could cause them catastrophic harm.
During the Federal Court’s live-streamed summary, the court found that one million of today’s Australian children are expected to be hospitalised because of a heat-stress episode, that substantial economic loss will be experienced, and that the Great Barrier Reef and most of Australia’s eucalypt forest won’t exist when they grow up.
The court concluded:
It is difficult to characterise in a single phrase the devastation that the plausible evidence presented in this proceeding forecasts for the children. As Australian adults know their country, Australia will be lost, and the world as we know it gone as well. The physical environment will be harsher, far more extreme and devastatingly brutal when angry.
As for the human experience – quality of life, opportunities to partake in nature’s treasures, the capacity to grow and prosper – all will be greatly diminished. Lives will be cut short. Trauma will be far more common and good health harder to hold and maintain.
None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults in what might fairly be described as the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next.
To say that the children are vulnerable is to understate their predicament.
Write to your local, federal MP and/or the Energy & Emissions Reduction Minister (Angus Taylor MP); the Environment Minister (Sussan Ley MP); or the Prime Minister expressing your desire for the adoption of stronger climate legislation, for the Bill to be debated and for MPs to be given a free ‘conscience’ vote
The House Standing Committee, Environment and Energy completed two days of public hearings into the Climate Change Bill on Monday February 1st. The overwhelming expert testimony offers broad support for the Climate Change Bill and recommends that the government take more urgent climate action for the good of Australia and its people.
In total, 6,500 submissions were received by the Committee and 1,700 are displayed on the parliamentary website.
Did you know that efforts are underway to have 18 March recognised by the UN as Global Recycling Day?
Sadly, a recent report in The Conversation showed that far too much of our recycled waste ends up in the oceans. The complexities involved in the global recycling trade mean we must rethink packaging design. That means using fewer low-value plastic and composites, or better yet, replacing single-use plastic packaging with reusable options.
On a brighter note, Construction will soon commence on Australia’s first lithium-ion battery factory in Tomago, New South Wales. The special lithium-ion batteries are designed for use in hot conditions. This is just as well, for, without strong climate legislation, our conditions will only get hotter and hotter!
Do you find it hard to start a conversation about climate change? Here are a couple of facts that may help break the ice. Did you know that:
Renewables represented 21% of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2019.
China has more than 400,000 electric buses, about 99% of the world’s total.
In the last 30 years, the UK has grown its economy by 75% while cutting emissions by 43%.
In Australia, in the last 30 years, energy emissions have increased by 48%.
The European Union has decided to cut its emissions by at least 55 per cent by the end of this decade.
Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for between 300 and 1,000 years.
Climate Analytics points out that: When emissions from Australia’s current coal, oil and gas exports (3.6% of global total) are added to domestic emissions (1.4% of global total), Australia’s contribution to the global climate pollution footprint is already about 5%. That’s equivalent to Russia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s fifth-biggest carbon dioxide emitter.
However, Australia is also at the forefront of producing renewable energy at a massive scale:
The Sun Cable solar farm in the Northern Territories will cover 150 square kilometres and require 22 million solar panels and a power line to supply electricity all the way to Singapore.
One Million Women know how to put on a show, even in a pandemic! This year’s LoveEarth Festival on 5 December was enjoyed by hundreds of women and men around the world – all on Zoom.
Hosted by Natalie Isaacs, the founder of 1MW and lively co-host Bernie Hobbs, the award-winning science writer and broadcaster with the ABC – this event had it all: connection with country, mind, heart and soul.
Highlights for me:
Auntie Bea Ballangarry’s welcome to country that prompted spontaneous acknowledgement of country around the world via the chat line
Alice Skye a young first nations singer-songwriter who nailed singing live on Zoom
Christiana Figueres, who led the historic Paris Agreement, and made me ferociously optimistic – I enjoyed the line ‘men created climate change, women are going to solve it‘, (even though I knew it wasn’t entirely accurate!)
Paul Kelly’s song, Sleep Australia Sleep, got me Googling the lyrics as I was so touched by his words. (Think animal kingdoms…)
Sleep my country sleep, as off the cliff, the kingdoms leap, count them as they pass on by. Our children might know them, but their children will not, we won’t know ’til it’s gone all the glory we’ve got.
Just like the boiling frog, as we go, we won’t feel a thing…
Paul Kelly from Sleep Australia Sleep
Craig Reucassel, the ABC TV climate crusader, who stressed the importance of taking on one new action at a time and making it a habit before taking on another action
Kathy Jetnei-Kijner a young poet who lives in the Marshall Islands that are only 2m above sea level and will be one of the first nations lost to rising sea levels. She read a poem she had written for her daughter to give her hope. I lost it with the line ”They’re marching for you baby…”
Missy Higgins singing ‘Going North’ and sharing how living in Broome in the north of Western Australia taught her that we are all part of the land – we are not separate from it
Margaret Kein Salamon a climate psychologist from New York who urged us to be non-judgemental, to talk about the climate emergency from a personal perspective. Don’t be scared to say how you feel. This prompted a flood of sharing on the chat line that was very moving. There are a lot of worried, angry, frustrated and frightened people out there – and also a lot who are motivated, optimistic and empowered to take action!
Mary Robinson – yes the first woman president of Ireland and climate champion. Such a wise, inspiring woman who urged us to take three steps [In Step Two, I mentally inserted Zonta Says Now!]:
Step One: We must take the climate crisis personally and make it our own issue.
Step Two: We must get angry and be active about those who are not doing enough – join an organisation
Step Three: Imagine the world we are hurrying towards; new jobs, new opportunities and make it a just transition. Don’t neglect those who helped build the economies
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
Yes, I was so inspired by Mary’s words, that I rapidly wrote down more of them!
Women globally have woken up to the fact that we have to be there at the table.
There has to be parity of decision making. We need women to be half of the cabinet, half of the board in business. We need women to be involved at every level – we need their voices.
Yes, I say to all women globally, this is our time, our century and we must step up and take that responsibility… We must walk tall, take our place and make it the century where women’s leadership will lead us forward.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
Uncle Kev Carmody, acclaimed singer-songwriter, rounded out the event with his haunting rendition of Earth Mother’s woman child.
Throughout the event Natalie and Bernie kept the virtual event personal, feeding off the comments in the chat line. One Million Women are doing some great work and their new initiative is the Marketplace where they showcase a range of sustainable products – check it out.
My verdict? A thoroughly enjoyable, educational and moving morning. Congratulations to the One Million Women team for putting it together!