Many eminent scientists have said those words. One of the latest is Professor Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal. In an interview for This Cambridge Life in June this year he had this to say on the urgent need to address climate change –
Our planet is getting more crowded and our climate is warming. Climate change is not under-discussed but it’s dismayingly under-acted-upon. On the positive side, we have several politically realistic ways to mitigate the CO2 emissions warming the world by directing technology wisely.
The IPCC report was released today, it tells us it is crucially important, no matter where we might live on this planet, to ensure emissions are reduced, and to keep any increase in temperature below 1.5 C. Australia has many Pacific neighbours already being affected by climate change, but our government continues to deny them any help at all, let alone devise a way to reduce our increasing levels of emissions. It’s imperative our government stops adopting the ostrich posture, stops buck-passing by saying other nations need to do something before Australia acts and stops denying there is any such thing as climate change.
You can read the full report here – http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
If you prefer, here’s a summary prepared by the Climate Council.
Our interim prime minister decided to rubbish the report even before it was released. He said the report was not about Australia and there was no need for this nation to do a thing about it. He was wrong, of course. Maybe he should have waited and read the report before he spoke, but that doesn’t seem to be his style. The report has the word “Australia” more than 30 times in the main body of text, and in addition there are the mentions of all the Australia scientists – more than a dozen – who contributed. Then Morrison went further. The Guardian reported his words.
Morrison repeated his claim that Australia would meet its Paris emissions reduction target “in a canter”, despite environment department figures showing emissions increased 1.3% in the year to March 2018, suggesting Australia is likely to miss the target.
Advice from the Energy Security Board has said that a business as usual scenario will mean the electricity sector will “fall short of the emissions reduction target of 26% below 2005 levels” by 2030.
Asked if Australia would be held to the target to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels, Morrison said: “No, we won’t … we’re not held to any of them at all. Nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund. We’re not going to do that either. I’m not going to spend money on global climate conferences and all that nonsense.”
Australia has contributed $200m to the Green Climate Fund from 2015 to 2018, but the Coalition has come under pressure from One Nation to rule out making further contributions. The fund’s purpose is to help developing countries respond to climate change.
Morrison’s mendacity, ignorance and arrogance are breathtaking. Most Australians understand just how urgent it is to address climate change, to do all we can. Even the most conservative farmers are now, finally, beginning to understand climate change is real and is affecting the way they farm, yet Morrison keeps on pandering to the extreme right wingers in his government, all climate science deniers to their fingertips. He is really on the losing side of this debate, but he can’t seem to understand that. Why is he taking this stance? Why does he keep insisting our ageing and inefficient coal-fired, carbon-pumping power stations should have their lives extended, at huge cost, when renewables are cheaper and are what the power companies want to go with? Is he pandering to Trump, in the hope he will get an invitation to the White House? Is he after bigger donations to the Liberal Party from mining and gas companies? Is he just plain stupid? Or is there more to it? You can decide.
Meanwhile our only hope of reducing carbon emissions and starting to take action that might save what’s left of the Great Barrier Reef and our entire agricultural industry is to change the government. That cannot happen soon enough.