It’s time to act on climate change

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By The Hon Michael Danby MP

 

World leaders met in Paris earlier this month to negotiate a global agreement on climate action. We’re hoping for a good outcome, but we know we need to back it up with effective action at home.

Recent data from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation shows that investment in clean energy almost halved under the coalition government. This drop in investment means fewer jobs for Australians. Why would any state work to destroy a fledgling industry being embraced across the rest of the developed world?

In October independent research group Reputex released a report into the Abbott/Turnbull Governments flawed ‘Direct Action Plan’. The report says the government policy does not compel emitters to reduce carbon output and comply with their obligations. Many in our community find it beyond comprehension that the tax payer is funding these large emitters to keep polluting on top of the active effort undertaken by this government to destroy the renewable energy industry. Why is Australia taking such a backward step in regards to this all important issue that will affect the liveability, lifestyle, wealth and health we value so greatly?

We all know the economic and environmental dangers of not addressing climate change now. Indeed, these dangers were brought home to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, his deputy and foreign affairs spokesperson Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles during their November tour of Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands and Kirbati. In these Pacific countries, the effects of climate change are already being felt.

The Opposition has acknowledged the dangers of climate change for many years. The ALP has adopted a policy to ensure that by 2030, 50% of all energy is sourced by renewable forms of energy, substantially limiting carbon emissions. This policy is about job creation, economic transition and reducing our impact on climate change. It is policy that addresses the urgency of action, providing certainty in the investment environment of the renewal energy industry in Australia. It has been estimated that there is close to $1 billion worth of investment offshore awaiting certainty in the sector. If Australians choose to address climate change and vote in an ALP government at the next election, such policy will transform the economy and position Australia once again as a serious global player again, acknowledging the global shift to renewables and being a kick-starter for industry and the creation of jobs.

Many leading scientists are worried it is already too late to limit growth in temperatures to 2 degrees, so the importance of real genuine action now is pressing. No longer can we think we are somehow entitled to avoid our responsibilities and to emit more pollution per capita than any other nation.  Is that fair and responsible of Australia? No, well that’s what the current governments approach is to our global commitments when it comes to climate change.

 

Michael Danby is the Member for Melbourne Ports

 

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