Letter: make climate change a major election issue

We at the Mid North Coast Climate Change Australia action group are calling for climate change to be a major issue in the coming state and federal elections.  With elections due on Saturday 23 March and in early May, people want real action on climate change and not just words.

73 per cent of Australians are concerned about climate change and 70 per cent want coal power phased out and replaced with clean energy.  The electorate of Lyne is no different and concerns of people here should be taken seriously.

In NSW, the dirtiest of all states when it comes to carbon pollution, the Berejiklian government has no climate change plan, and continues to push for more coal mines right across the state, including on valuable farmland.

Add to this the new ‘gold rush’ to clear-fell our state forests, cheered on by the Nationals while the Liberals turn a blind eye.  Wood is not a renewable energy source and forests must be protected as valuable carbon banks to keep pollution locked up instead of escaping into the atmosphere, adding to what’s already there, causing global warming”.

At federal level, the Morrison coalition government is doing nothing to curb Australia’s emissions, with levels of pollution climbing each month.  This is despite their Paris Climate Agreement promise to 195 other nations to reduce our emissions. 

Australia is far more vulnerable than many other countries to the impacts of climate change, including more extreme weather events, hotter temperatures and putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk of annihilation. 

The drought, heatwaves and bushfires we are seeing right now are not caused by climate change - they are made worse by it.  What else would you expect from a warming planet?  Add heat to any system and it creates more energy.  This results in record hot days and overnight temperatures, longer and more intense droughts, and fiercer bush fires.

This is happening with only +1.5°C of warming, when the forecast increase based on business-as-usual doing as little as possible, continuing to burn fossil fuels and destroy forests, is +4°C, well before 2100.  And it’s not linear, it’s exponential, so now it’s underway, it gets worse more quickly. 

It is no exaggeration to predict a climate hell in the coming decades, unless we act now, in the coming election cycle, i.e. the next three years.

It is essential that all candidates demand strong, urgent action to phase out fossil fuels, transition to clean energy, and stop destroying forests.  That’s why we are calling for climate change to be an election issue - we are facing a climate emergency.

Harry Creamer, Hastings branch, Climate Change Australia

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