Recovery must take into account climate change

Gail Noble, Maffra


WE witnessed swift and co-operative actions from all levels and sides of government in accepting the advice of experts to deal with the public health crisis as it unfolded.

Now begins the economic recovery, and the federal government has released a Technology Investment Road Map to shape this recovery.

An expert panel was formed to offer advice on what this road map could look like.

Both the chair and special adviser of this panel hold lead international positions in oil and gas companies.

The advice of vested interests will see Australia go down a particular path with yet another fossil fuel (this time it is gas), thereby missing an opportunity to listen to the wealth of experts in this country who could lead us down a different path of recovery.

Yes, the economy needs rebuilding – but not in the old way.

The climate crisis exists alongside the health situation that we will be dealing with for quite a while.

Unlike the rapid appearance of the virus, which required swift action, we have known for decades that the issue of global warming must be faced, and it is wishful thinking to believe it will simply go away.

The warming of our planet by carbon-emitting industries and practices requires deliberate policies that will take us forward into a cleaner and safer future.

New and imaginative thinking is required for the challenges that simply must be faced and should no longer be postponed.

Australia’s economic recovery could be built on a transition to cleaner industries and at the same time create new jobs and technology innovation, strengthening our economy and addressing climate concerns simultaneously.

The Technology Investment Road Map lacks clear goals and actions to deal with Australia’s rising emissions, and provides no timelines for transitioning to renewables as we gradually move from fossil fuels.

The Technology Investment Road Map should put Australia on the path to net zero emissions by 2050, alongside the rest of the world.

However, according to an architect of the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index (which ranked Australia last out of 61 countries on climate policy) our ranking is unlikely to change with the implementation of the road map.

We cannot miss the opportunity the pandemic provided to rethink a future path that will provide economic strength tied to sustainable practices for the planet and its citizens.

New thinking and committed leadership on climate change must be a part of Australia’s economic recovery.