We are in a Climate Emergency Part 2 by Tony Peck

Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy, released in early May, is on the right track, although not the emergency response required. Many normally risk-averse organizations such as the Meat and Livestock Association (net zero target by 2030), Farmers Federation (net zero by 2050) and large industrial organizations with clearly stated targets include BHP, Bluescope, Wesfarmers and many more. We have also reached the point where most of our politicians say they believe that climate is changing and we need to act. If anything, the need to act as though we have a global climate emergency is becoming more and more pressing.

We know what is needed to achieve cuts to greenhouse gases right now. While taking urgent and effective action we must continue to research other strategies and indeed, we may find even better responses than those we know work and can be taken now. Some of the options will eventually include locking carbon up using a variety of yet to be proven methods.

It is clear though that we must act now, using methods we know actually work. As Greta Thunberg famously said ‘I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.’

Action must focus on reducing our carbon emissions. It will require some dramatic changes and sacrifices are likely, just as have occurred during the pandemic.

Coal, oil and gas need to be phased out as fuels as rapidly as possible.

To replace these sources of power we need to move to using clean energy. Sources for this clean energy are wind, hydro and solar together with storage such as pumped hydro and batteries. The latest science is strongly indicating that even the new more ambitious targets for emissions reduction will not be sufficient. A properly funded, just transition, for workers in these industries is crucial to achieve successful change.

Opponents of action on climate have long attempted to confuse and delay. They argue that there is no problem, just historically normal climate changes. Now that the evidence is so clearly proven, many have altered their focus saying ‘of course the climate changes, but it’s not a problem we need to do anything about’. This is a well tried tactic and has been used in the past by the tobacco and asbestos industries in their attempts to maintain profits before the inevitable end to their industries.

With leadership at all levels of government, from industries and unions we are capable of using the known science to move to an electrically powered transport, domestic and industrial future, with the power largely generated by renewable energy. There are plans to export our solar and wind power as hydrogen or ammonia. There are so many opportunities that can be seized right now.

We must treat this crisis as the emergency it clearly is and focus all necessary resources to stop global warming while we still can.

*The Author is a member of EGCAN, Bairnsdale XR and a contributor to this blog. Part 1 is here.