Head Banging for Climate Change

Campaigning for change, Food & climate change article written on the 15 Jun 2011

Paddy Cullen, (left) Oxfam's WA state Campaigner with Barry Haase

Lobbying to convince some people that climate change real, can sometimes be like hitting your head against a brick wall.

I am not the first to try to sway Liberal MP Barry Haase that action on climate change is crucial when we met at the airport lounge in Perth earlier this year.

Mr Haase previously met with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Jakarta who also failed to win him over. He is convinced  research showing temperature increases are the result of false readings taken in developing countries. To counter this argument I gave him a booklet from the Australian Academy of Sciences which shows both how temperature is increasing in Australia and right around the globe. I also pointed out that no scientific  body has refuted that the earth is warming.

The Member for Durack who sees himself as a ‘moderate’ as opposed to ‘an alarmist’ believes that to reduce greenhouse gases significantly “we would have to go back to the forest and wear animal skins or commit suicide”. I tried to bring him around to the idea that a price on carbon would be a good start but was unsuccessful in this instance.

Mr Haase also believes renewable energy compared with coal is too expensive and would not be acceptable to the Australian public. I countered with the arguments that the humanitarian and economic cost of inaction would be an even greater expense and that renewable energy had the potential to  boost to the economy having already produced more than a million jobs in China.

In the end we simply agreed to disagree and he flew off to Canberra unconvinced. However despite not getting a breakthrough on this occasion I believe it is important to get out there and keep spreading the message. Most politicians like most of the public  actually want the government to do more done about climate change, they just don’t happen to be in a leadership position.

This is not the first time I have been unsuccessful and will probably not be the last. Being an activist means being an eternal optimist.  If you keep banging your head against the wall long enough, one day the wall will surely fall.