Will 2019 be the year Australia takes on its responsibilities in effective action on climate change?
Our Federal Government continues to fail to put into practice any meaningful policy on tackling climate change, apparently held hostage to the small group of right wing climate change deniers within the LNP.
This lack of policy direction demonstrates that these politicians care more about their personal survival in Canberra than the welfare of the nation. Not only does lack of policy make it extremely difficult for those wanting to invest in renewable energy, but it means that Australia will not meet its Paris Agreement targets.
Federal Government has not indicated that it accepts the scientific evidence collated by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology that global heating is real and is caused by human based greenhouse gas emissions. To continue to ignore the evidence in the joint State of the Climate 2018 Report released in December, puts all species at serious risk from heat stress, bushfires, intense rainfall events and drought.
All of these happenings are also extremely costly to our economy, but still the Federal Government fiddles while Australia burns. 84% of the Australian population wants action on climate change and the politicians ignore this at their own (and our) peril.
We must refuse to accept the Government’s bland statements that we will meet the Paris Agreement targets, which is debatable, and demand more – http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/
The recent extreme temperatures in Queensland during November which exacerbated the catastrophic bushfires are harbingers of what is to come unless the developed nations take effective action to reduce emissions and slow global heating.
At a State Government level there are dual policies at odds with each other and confusing the general public. On one hand the Government is encouraging investment in renewable energy and sustainability in key industries, but on the other hand they continue to allow development of thermal coal mines and revel in the high level of royalties from the coal industry.
There must be a viable and publicly open transition from coal to renewables and so far this is not evident.
Heat stress as global temperatures climb will become part of everyday life around the world and are a serious health problem. The solutions are multiple and complex, but good urban planning provides a relatively easy response – green the city.
Heat is a silent killer and kills more Australians than any natural disaster. Extreme temperatures in November gave us fair warning that we need to address the problem of our cities becoming dangerous places to live. We are increasing the density of our cities, but not providing enough green spaces and street trees to offset the heat island effect of all those buildings radiating heat, in fact in new suburbs we still allow developers to remove every shred of vegetation creating hot living places with exorbitant electricity bills as residents try to cool their homes.
A climate change project
In 2019 Gecko will provide a learning opportunity for a social work student in her final field placement. This student has demonstrated a passion for environmental social work and will be undertaking a project related to climate change and heat stress. The student will undertake to interview a sample of health and welfare agencies about their policies and procedures in dealing with heat stress and its impact on their vulnerable clients. It is hoped too that this will stimulate discussion among the agencies about ways they can reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions.