In 1990 the Australian Parliament became the ninth country to ratify the initial United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A total of 197 countries have ratified the Convention, which aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.
A recent Lowy report shows that three-quarters of Australians (74%) believe ‘the benefits of taking further action on climate change will outweigh the costs’. And yet as we know well, successive Australian governments of all shades have struggled to address the challenge of climate change.
However there is a simple way around this impasse!
A little background to the Climate Change Bills:
- The Climate Change Bills seek to establish a non-partisan way for climate change to be effectively addressed in Australia
- Before the Bills could be voted on, a parliamentary inquiry was established to investigate the Bills
- Over 6,500 submissions were presented to this inquiry from individuals as well as key business, industry, planning, environmental and health organisations including Geelong Sustainability
- An overwhelming majority (99.9%) of submissions were in support of the Bills.
- AND YET, the inquiry committee, having a coalition majority, recommended against supporting the Bills!
The world context
- The irony is that addressing climate change in an effective way will likely be forced on Australia through the actions of our trading partners.
- The European Commission is on the verge of passing the Carbon Border Adjustment Scheme (tariffs on emissions-intensive imports from countries not taking climate action) and the US has announced similar measures. Japan, South Korea and China will soon follow.
- This will mean that these carbon tariffs on our emissions-intensive exports will be collected by foreign governments, not our Australian tax office.
So what happens next?
- The Climate Change Bills will be reintroduced to Parliament on 30 August this year with a vote expected in October.
- What happens next is critical:
- The worst possible path ~ that the Government won’t allow the Bills to be debated. It would be a travesty of democracy to dismiss the 6500 submissions to the inquiry.
- A poor but likely path ~ that the coalition Government instructs its members to vote against the Bills, which would kill them off.
- The desperately needed best path ~ that the Parliament allows the Bills to be debated and gives all members allowed a conscience vote. This would mean a vote based on the merits of the Bills keeping in mind the views of their constituents.
So what can we do to help?
- Add your name to over 96,000 people supporting the Bills
- Write to your elected representatives telling them to support the passage of the Bills
- Follow the Bills’ path on the #ClimateActNow Facebook page
- Read more about the Bills and inquiry report
- Join the Mass Mailout: Plea for Climate Action
- In the lead up to COP26 in Glasglow, our colleagues from ADAC (A Different Approach Community) want to send the Prime Minister a big message from the Australian people.
- So in collaboration with Zali Steggall they’re organising a big photo opportunity on the public lawns in front of Parliament House
- Post your letter or drawing or simple message to: Plea for Climate Action, Locked Bag 8450, Canberra, ACT 2600 by 30 September. Please write your postcode and email address on the back.
- All letters will be displayed on the lawns of Parliament House during the October sitting session.
- ADAC and Zali are hoping for thousands of letters from concerned citizens!