With the double-dissolution Federal election expected to take place on July 2, Bathurst Community Climate Action Network president Tracey Carpenter has called for all Calare candidates across the political spectrum to put climate change front and centre as an election issue.

With shocking new evidence of climate change occurring at an even faster rate than previously predicted, Ms Carpenter said this was an historic opportunity to make good the world’s commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

She said that there was nothing remote about climate change. In the Calare region, increasing fire danger and extreme weather events could have catastrophic effects on agriculture, health and transport.

“In the months since the world reached a landmark climate agreement in Paris, we have witnessed some truly brutal reminders of what is at stake if we fail to act,” Ms Carpenter said. “Temperature records are being shattered and we have acute damage to Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania’s forests have been ravaged by unprecedented fires. We have passed the critical level of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

Ms Carpenter said candidates’ policies must directly address the climate crisis with a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and a more rapid transition to renewable energy. It must also move to ensure our long-term water and food security in the face of the impacts of climate and the collapse of the coal industry.

Ms Carpenter said that on a local level, the urgency of the situation is borne out by a report to be tabled at Bathurst Regional Council tonight by Council’s Environment Officer. This report compiles predictions that include an expectation that there will be eight more days per year experiencing temperatures greater than 35°C (heat waves). By 2030, there are expected to be 12 fewer nights below 2°C and this will decrease by 35 nights by 2070.

“The federal elections on July 2 give the residents of Calare an important opportunity to send a signal to Canberra that we have had enough lip-service about climate change. The time for real action that will make a difference is right here, right now.”