Two political leaders, two opposite reactions to the IPCC report — and they are from the same party. Matt Kean, the energy and environment minister in the Liberal (Conservative) state of New South Wales (NSF), is giving his federal government colleagues an ultimatum — lead, follow, or get out of the way.
He has challenged voters to remove politicians who are willfully obstructing measures to combat climate change. In a swipe at Prime Minister Scott Morrison — who is blaming India and China — and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce — who is asking for others to come up with a plan — Kean says: “The community expects our leaders to get on with it, or to get out of the way.”
Matt Canavan, another federal conservative politician, puts himself on the same level as the Taliban, saying in a tweet, “Does anyone know if the Taliban will sign up to net zero?” As if Australia doesn’t have to do the right thing until the newest, most repressive regime does. Is this not evidence of moral bankruptcy?
Australia has the capacity and the technology to become a leader in decarbonisation through renewable energy — but lacks the political will at a federal level. “We are not just a sunburnt country; we are a sun blessed country.”
Australia is also moving more rapidly to the higher temperatures predicted in the IPCC report. The country has already warmed 1.4 degrees and will struggle to stay under 2 degrees warming. If Australia does not rapidly increase its actions, the country will burn, flood, and dry out even more than usual. There is a good chance that climate refugees will start to arrive in larger numbers, and worst of all, climate denying politician might lose their seats. The climate change denying former prime minister (Tony Abbott) lost his seat to a climate activist Independent in the last election.
There will be a federal election in the next 12 months or so. Hopefully enough Australians will understand the need for action and vote for politicians who will do their job — working for the vast majority of the people, not just the elite in the fossil fuel industry.