Julie-Anne’s media statement at Warsaw Climate Conference, 13 November 2013
My name’s Julie-Anne and I’m an Australian. Which is quite an admission in these halls at the moment.
People keep coming up to me and asking what’s going on? Why my government is doing such terrible things on climate policy? Why are they so addicted to coal? Why are they so determined to go backwards? How can they trash their climate policy when the rest of the world is meeting here in Warsaw to try and move forward on climate? And, particularly when our neighbouring countries, especially the Philippines, are suffering such devastation from the worst ever (worst ever!) Typhoon.
But the main question they ask me is – do the Australian people support all of this negativity and destruction?
The answer to that question is they categorically do not. The majority of Australian people do not support repealing the carbon price, trashing renewable energy support, dismantling the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and winding back support for a long term target of reducing carbon pollution by 80% by 2050.
If you want evidence of that look no further than the Climate Commission – one of the first things the government did was to shut the Climate Commission down. Within one week – only a week – they were able to start back up as a public groundswell of over 20,000 Australians donated small amounts to add up to $1 million. In just a week. Because Australians want to be informed about climate change.
Ordinary Australians are so keen for action on climate change because we’ve lived the beginnings of climate change. We’ve seen “one in a hundred year floods” happen in Queensland twice in a period of just twelve months. And in the same period Queensland coped it with Cyclone Yasi – the worst cyclone in nearly 100 years. We’ve had the worst drought ever within the last decade – and parts of the country are in drought again. In Sydney, where I live, we just had devastating bushfires. In October – mid Spring! The earliest such bushfires have happened. And, of course, we’ve seen on our televisions the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. And ordinary Australians haven’t lived through this, and seen our neighbours suffer even worse, and gone – “oh, I know, let’s repeal effective action on climate change”. Ordinary Australians in fact want MORE action on climate change, not less.
Recent polling by GetUp! Showed that the majority of Australians want Australia to adopt a higher target (of 15% or 25%) as the Climate Change Authority recently recommended. 65% of people said they wanted stronger action on climate change.
The Coalition that PM Abbott leads have a long standing policy of supporting these target ranges – and the conditions attached to them. It is not genuine to say you stand by the target ranges if you then change the conditions to be unrealistic and unreasonable. We need clarity on this from the government.
And, as the Independent Climate Change Authority identified less than a fortnight ago, it is in Australia’s national interest to increase our target.
It’s in our national interest not only because we are so vulnerable to climate change, but also because unless we increase our target and take more action, we’re in danger of falling behind the rest of the world.
Next year, 2014, is the year for climate ambition PM Abbott. Your Government will be expected to come to the Ban Ki-moon Summit in September 2014 and put on the table how you’ll increase your 2020 target, and a 2025 carbon pollution reduction target and climate finance that reflects Australia’s fair share. And we Australians will be pushing every day to make sure you do this. Starting this Sunday – where Australians in every corner of the country will be at a National day of action.
Posted by Julie-Anne Richards at 03:12