Written by Grace Elkins
The Australian government’s stance on climate change and its continued support of the fossil fuel industry has the international community believing Australia is determined to ‘fight the future’.
The government’s intention to scrap the price on carbon makes Australia an unattractive location for investment in renewable energy. According to an Australian businessman, Danny Kennedy, this means Australia risks missing out on ‘the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st Century’ as it favours the coal and fossil fuel industries over renewable power.
According to Steven Cohen from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, ‘competent leaders need to understand the science of sustainability’. A leader needs to make the effort to learn from scientists and it is the duty of a leader to write policies in accordance with this knowledge. As Barack Obama learns the ins and outs of sustainability from the brains of Climate Science in the United States, the Australian government stubbornly refuses to adapt in policies in light of the evidence in front of them.
Former UK conservative party environment minister, Lord Deben, has deemed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s approach to Climate Change ‘reckless’ and ‘deeply shaming’. The Abbott Government’s insistence on ignoring the realities of Climate Change and it’s plan to scrap the price on carbon is not only damaging the potential for renewable energy investment, it is creating an international laughing stock of Australia.
Government policy has the potential to ‘drive investment and innovation’ as California Energy Commissioner, David Hochschild, reports has happened in California since the government implemented targets of a 33% emission reduction by 2020. When there is a defined goal, decided upon by the government, brains and money are able to combine and achieve incredible things. However, in the absence of the guidance found in policy, none of this occurs.
The Nation needs leadership on Climate Change, the elected leaders need to accept their duty to save Australia for the future; both social and economic safety are contingent on a safe environment.