My Nungurner 2013 Speech Part 2

Speaking (in blue hat) middle left. Image Heather Oke.

Business as Usual

Digging up and burning or selling every bit of fossil fuel we can find – is a recipe for disaster. Observations around the world indicate that we already are headed that way. Examples include the decline in glaciers and ice sheets around the earth – especially the Arctic – and the increase in number and severity of extreme weather events. Heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms bushfires. The recent fires in NSW were not caused by climate change. However scientists predicted more than twenty years ago that we would get more bushfires and worse ones.

Why were the NSW fire events called unprecedented and unparalleled? Because they occurred in October extending the previous fire season. In Victoria we have had in the last decade 3 bushfires that can be termed one in one hundred year events – 2003, 2006/7 and 2009. It is a foretaste of the future. In all of these events I was living at Ensay. We were directly threatened by both the 2003 and 2006/7 fires. On each of these occasions my family and I assumed the worst – that the fire would come to us – and we worked hard each day preparing for that eventuality. This is what many of us did during these threatening situations. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.

But what are we doing about climate change? At the moment we are going backwards. We have elected governments at all levels whose main priority is business as usual. We have just elected a Federal government intent on dismantling the small advances the previous government made on climate. At best these politicians – including our prime minister – give lip service to the science. At worst they are firmly in the denialist/confusionist camp.

There are formidable forces that are opposed to any action on climate change. They oppose by spreading doubt and confusion and thus the need for action. They spread their influence widely through the media, politicians and the political process. The fossil fuel lobby includes the largest, wealthiest, most influential companies in the world. The largest company on Earth – Exxon – has been funding the denialist camp for more than 20 years. In Australia the world’s richest woman has been vehemently opposed to the so called carbon tax. Why? Perhaps because she is a part owner of a huge coal mine in the Warwick basin in Queensland that plans to export to India. Coal is the main offender in terms of climate change. In the burning process each ton of pure coal is converted into more than 3 tons of carbon dioxide. (To be concluded)

*Get Up Climate Action Day 17.11.2013. Part 1 is here.