Our Governments and the Climate Emergency

Signing the Climate Emergency Petition

I have often commented in this blog that most politicians have no idea of what the inertia (see here and here) in our climate systems means to global warming. That if we could somehow miraculously stop our carbon emissions in an instant the planet will keep warming for many years. Few politicians look beyond the next election. The climate emergency tasks must in fact be threefold – to stop all carbon emissions as quickly as possible, to drawdown as much carbon as we can from the atmosphere and to adapt, as best possible, to the warming that is already built into the system.

At a federal level, both the main parties remain hostage to fossil fuel interests. The Lib/Nats here are completely hostile to climate action and renewable energy. Labor remains tentative about the emergency but, in comparison with the government, appears to be ahead by a ‘country mile’. But they do appear to be more concerned about the next election and a hostile, or indifferent, mainstream media does not help.

At a state level, all governments of both persuasions are embracing renewable energy and energy storage. Victoria is to the fore here, which is a positive. However this conflicts with negative aspects of Spring Street decisions such as continued logging and the coal to hydrogen project, which are adding carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The apparent failure of the Sea Electric project in Morwell, would have greatly assisted a just transition and now an electric vehicle tax beckons. Victoria obviously lacks a comprehensive climate plan or any sense of urgency for action. Unfortunately the LNP opposition remain troglodytes on both renewable energy and climate change.

It is at a local government level that most action is happening. Bass Coast council is the first in Gippsland to declare a climate emergency following many other Victorian councils. We expect other declarations to follow in the next year or two (East Gippsland and South Gippsland?) when they are petitioned again by their concerned residents. Some local government areas are well-organised, including emergency services and renewable energy adoption. Following any declaration, the climate emergency then requires planning, co-ordination, implementation and education – all applied with a matter of urgency.