The elephant in the room


IN the run-up to the coming election, there is one issue that the Coalition does not want to talk about. Climate change.

This is hardly surprising given their record. After abolishing the carbon tax, CO2 emissions from electricity production have risen by 5.7 per cent despite demand remaining flat.

Investment in new wind farms came to a dead stop for over two years, with solar farm construction resuming post Abbott.

Climate scientists from the CSIRO have been sacked, just when we are seeing the true effects of climate change continuing at a quickening pace.

The worst droughts on record over most of Queensland and south western Victoria, while on the east coast there are unprecedented deluges causing previously unimaginable coastal erosion apparently due to record high sea temperatures for this time of year.

The same warming that has killed more than 50 per cent of the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Our supposed Environment Minister Greg Hunt has in the meantime tried to buy emissions reduction from big polluters like brown coal power stations, who are not even required to reduce their emissions and never will under their ironically named Emissions Reduction Fund.

Mr Hunt claims to understand the science of climate change, yet he has instituted policies that still encourage coal exploration and development (viz. approving the Adani Mine in Queensland) that cost taxpayers four times as much as subsidies to renewable energy.

This is probably not surprising given that prior to the 2013 election Hunt said that his main role as Environment Minister was to get mining approvals moving again.

The pity is that back in the early 1990s Dr Graeme Pearman, the then head of the CSIRO Atmospheric Physics Division before the Howard government removed the funding, (history repeats with COALition governments) constructed computer models that predicted what we are now experiencing.

Twenty years later we still have a Federal government full of climate change deniers like Russell Broadbent and others who agree with the science, but don’t think it is an urgent problem, such as Darren Chester.

Until we have leaders who will refuse donations from fossil fuel companies as the Greens do, then certainly we will have coal industry jobs at least in the short term, but as the insurance industry can testify, the only growth will be in rebuilding after one climate catastrophe after another.

There will be no jobs and growth on a dying planet.

Only a rapid transition from fossil fuels will suffice.

If the Liberal and National Parties don’t want to do the job, then they don’t deserve our vote. Our children won’t have the luxury of sitting on their hands like today’s LibNats.