By Tracey Carpenter
Did you know that Paris climate talks are the largest gathering of world leaders since 1948? Such is the importance with which the world is now engaging with the crisis of climate change and efforts to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. And they’re trying to nut out a way to transition from fossil fuels before we reach atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that will lead to spiraling global warming within our own children’s life times? Is Australia contributing equitably, responsibly? Have we abandoned all those on the front line of climate change?
Unfortunately our government and opposition parties have provided a Punch and Judy show on climate policy which has achieved very little. And we can all see that the two hands in the puppets are the same sleazy, old guy from the minerals council in a shiny suit. Behind the tired pantomime – the approvals for staggering volumes of coal exports go on. Queensland’s Galilee Basin which will emit more toxic greenhouse gases than the entire European Union is being pushed ahead with government assistance – crushing all resistance, all fiscal logic, the Great Barrier Reef and land rights in its path. In NSW the coal mine approvals stamp onwards, taking out our best agricultural land, our natural wonders, water resources and whole villages in their path. The Australian government is ignoring the imperative to transition our economy away from high carbon emissions to clean energy. Putting up a smokescreen to hide their stranded asserts –the 95% of NSW coal reserves which needs be left in the ground, unburned, if we are to justly and equitably limit our contribution to the globe’s remaining carbon budget. With each new coalmine we are digging a grave for another Pacific Island state.
What is needed is massive – but what we have to defend are the people and places we love and our beautiful planet. That is what motivates us at Bathurst Community Climate Action Network to help our community tackle climate change and seize the opportunities that transforming our local economy can offer. From the uptake of clean technologies, investment in renewable energy, local food production, better public transport, revegetation, protecting our vulnerable biodiversity, fairer sharing of our resources, less pollution and waste. That is why BCCAN joined the inspiring People’s Climate Marches last weekend calling on our leaders to act to commit to stronger, more meaningful action on climate change, higher emissions cuts, support for renewables and putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies. In the words of Pope Francis’ Encyclical “The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.” “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
Tracey Carpenter is President of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network