Federal Elections and climate policy: After years of frustration with federal government inaction or worse on climate change, the topic is now well at the top of election discussions. The LNP continues to have a totally inadequate policy on climate change action being hamstrung by the extreme right wing coal loving MPs . The Labor Party has some good policies and the devil will be in the detail as to how they deliver these. The Greens are way out in front with their policies, but are unlikely to be able to deliver them, though they certainly will influence the debate. Other minor parties are generally very conservative and have poorly developed policies if any at all.
School climate strikes: Gecko has been involved in the School Strikes and supports our young people in their desperate efforts to get our “leaders” to take action and secure their future on a liveable planet. The leadership shown by Swedish student Greta Thunberg has been inspirational and her speech to the UK Parliament tells of the despair of her generation and her determination to continue the strikes until action is taken (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYNM4rsnNFM )
Wildlife Expo and heat stress: On June 2nd Gecko will host its annual Wildlife Expo and a major theme of this year’s event will be to raise awareness of the impact of heat stress on wildlife. Speakers and information will be present to provide suggestions on what to do if you come across heat stressed wildlife and how to make your garden friendlier to wildlife in the hot summer months.
A fair transition away from fossil fuels: Gecko has continued to raise the urgency of need to begin the transition from a fossil fuel based economy to one powered by renewables and it appears that many large businesses are waiting for the same thing. The Australia institute has release information demonstrating that the cost to the economy of not taking action on climate change will be in the order of $130 billion per year (http://www.tai.org.au/content/analysis-130-billion-year-benefit-gdp-avoiding-climate-change ) and given that in 2018 73% Australians want action on climate change, our politicians need to listen and act.
Adani's Carmichael Coal Mine
Gecko maintains its strong opposition to the construction of this mine as well as any new coal mining ventures. The impacts of increased CO2 emissions on climate change through the burning of fossil fuel is well-documented and the science is unequivocal. We also oppose coal mining because of its excessive requirements for one of our most precious resources, water. Adani wants to draw unlimited amounts of water from underground as well as from the Suttor River and many farmers are concerned that rural production will be impacted. Addditional environmental and cultural impacts include the likely harm to the Doongmabulla Springs, one of the few remaining untouched springs of this type remaining in the world and which also form an ancient site of Aboriginal culture and story –telling for the Wangan and Jagalingou people. Gecko supports the aspirations of these fist people to protect these springs and to retain their Native Title rights over country.
Gecko supports a just transition away from fossil fuel towards renewables which includes re-training of workers in the coal-mining industry.
Another study undertaken by the Australia Institute found that 98.9% of working Australians do not work directly in coal mining and that only 4% of North Queenslanders work in coal mining, which would indicate that a fair transition to alternative work could be undertaken without too much disruption over the next 10 years or so.
Much is also made of the royalties paid by coal mines, but they only constitute 6% of the Queensland government budget. Most of our dollars come from tourism and other industries, both of which will be at great risk if the average temperatures continue to climb above the maximum 1.5C increase considered to ensure a liveable climate.