Does our local Member get Climate Change? by Tony Peck

Letter published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 12.8

There is surely irony in Darren Chester releasing the draft East Gippsland Recovery 2030 Plan without once mentioning global warming, climate change, climate targets, impacts of global warming, renewable energy or electric vehicle infrastructure.

The Paris Agreement also focuses on 2030, with the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5ºC. It is astonishing that in his 2030 plan Mr Chester does not include climate change and its impact on our vulnerable region. 

Many of the very worthy initiatives proposed are needed as a direct consequence of the bushfires that ravaged our region just months ago. Climate scientists have concluded that these fires were so devastating and widespread as a result of climate change. It is predicted that we are likely to have further, equally severe events in the years leading to 2030, exacerbated by ongoing global warming.

Mr Chester’s plan includes much needed and welcome tourism initiatives across the region. Hopefully people will be encouraged to experience our amazing scenery, attractions and businesses. Other initiatives support fishing and key industries that form the lifeblood of our coastal and rural towns.

Unfortunately much of the plan will be pointless due to dramatic long-term changes to our climate reducing amenity and productivity. We need the same coordinated, largely successful disaster response that has occurred with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please Mr Chester: when you revise your plan it must focus on dramatic reductions in fossil fuel use, and implementation of regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, increasingly energy efficient homes… and so much more. Your government must take the urgent action needed to contain rising temperatures before it’s too late.

The author is a climate activist and member of EGCAN