Australia needs YOU! Overcoming the elephants and lies

Food & climate change article written on the 02 Aug 2010

I confess I have been putting this off for a while.

I have been avoiding it.

But the time has come put things straight. To tell all.

To raise my voice with the chorus of others expressing their discontent.

I met with the Australian negotiators last week to talk about the upcoming international climate negotiations and Australia’s role. We talked for 2 hours about what they want to achieve, their hopes, their frustrations. We talked about the UN climate meeting in Bonn this week and the Pacific Islands Forum.

However, throughout this relatively friendly meeting I couldn’t help but feel that there was a great big shadow in the room.

The elephant(s) in the room

They loomed over the conversation. They were not spoken of but they were present.

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott

There, I said it. That wasn’t so hard. Or more concisely:

The Labor Party and the Coalition

But then, they are bureaucrats. They cannot comment on the Government. Their role is to implement government legislation. And personally…. I think they’re scared.

I think they’re scared of the prospect of having to implement either of the major party’s policies.

Just imagine, if Tony Abbott’s famous line “climate change is absolute crap” became government policy then they would have to defend it (this is of course if the Coalition didn’t dissolve the Department of Climate Change).

Let’s be honest though, neither of these leaders, or parties have demonstrated a serious commitment to address climate change in this election race.

Both have played the politics of the lowest common denominator.

Both lack credible policies on climate change. Neither party has committed themselves to real action (as opposed to Tony Abbots sham line of ‘direct action’) that will see Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution reduce! Neither party is committed to action that will see justice for the world’s poor, who are already suffering the impacts of climate change.

Lies, lies and more lies

Now, you may have heard it said that both parties have a bi-partisan commitment to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. We all know this is a woefully inadequate target. One, that if adopted by all wealthy nations, would lead us down the path of catastrophic climate change.

However, the real scandal is that neither of the major parties have policies that will get us anywhere near this 5% reduction. Under both their plans Australia’s pollution will continue to increase.

Check out the Climate Institute’s Pollute O Meter to see a comparison of the different efforts.

Also of great concern is Tony Abbott’s latest announcement committing the Coalition to cutting funding from the aid program aimed at assisting poor countries to cope with the impacts of climate change.

The date is set

We go to the polls on August 21. There is still time to pressure both parties to adopt credible policies on climate change. Policies that help reduce pollution, protect the planet and defend the rights of all humanity who depend upon it.

Take Action! Email your member about wanting strong climate action for a carbon price announced before the election. You can find their details here.

Post a comment reporting your action and recording your member’s response.

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UN Climate Tracker Phil Ireland