My Daily Advertiser Op Ed column for Tuesday 8 October 2019

by ray goodlass

Australia denying climate change

At the recent UN climate summit the Australian government was seen as a climate ‘denialist’, observers said. Australia is perceived as using accounting tricks to meet targets and is not serious about finding a global climate solution. It uses “greenwash” to meet its emissions commitments according to analysts and former diplomats

Morrison’s failure to attend the UN climate action summit despite being in the US at the time further has eroded goodwill for Australia.

Having deliberately avoided the UN climate summit our PM did front up to the Leaders’ session, and in a voice sounding frighteningly similar to President Trump’s ‘fake news’ defence of any criticism likely to actually be true, our overly defensive PM said Australia’s record on climate change has been misrepresented by media.

More recently came news of the US President asking our PM to help discredit the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, to which Mr Morrison agreed. However, as there is not room in today’s column to analyse the ‘titanium’ man’s chumminess with the Donald it could perhaps be a topic for another week.

So back to the main topic. Mr Morrison suggested that negative media coverage fuelled criticism that was “completely false and completely misleading”. People expressed “prejudiced” views about Australia’s climate policy, he said. “Now where do they get their information from? Who knows, maybe they read it,” he said, worryingly echoing Mr Trump.

Our PM’s overly defensive and very antagonistic approach contrasted sharply with the address to the UN climate summit by young Greta Thunberg, so let’s have a closer look at what she said.

Thunberg’s achievement was to present the climate change issue as a battle for power. In doing so she spoke with the authority of the millions who marched only a few days before. For this Donald Trump trolled her. He saw her power and tried to destroy it through mockery.

In her speech Thunberg sets up an opposition between the plural ‘we’, those who want action on climate change, and an interesting use of the word ‘you’, that is, those who don’t.

So though she was speaking to an audience largely composed of those with power, her audience was not only the assembled global leaders but everyone, and her ‘we’, while directly referring to the young and Friday’s three million marchers on 20 September, was a we open to all, infinitely expandable.

For the ‘you’ is not just Trump, Scott Morrison or fossil fuel company executives. Her ‘you’ is for all of us who fail to recognise the necessity to act now, or will ‘you’ say nothing, do nothing, condemning yourself to the ranks of those who the future will, as Greta “never forgive?”

Now back to Mr Morrison, our coal fancier-in-chief, for he criticised Thunberg for similar reasons to Trump, patronisingly saying, “I think we’ve got to caution against raising the anxieties of children in our country.”

Since 1996 the Liberal party has been working assiduously to advance the cause of fossil fuel companies at the expense of our future. Morrison’s paternalistic waffle is yet another example of the Liberal record of lying, scheming and wrecking at every step for over two decades.

The Lib/Nats coalition has now clearly defined itself as the government for coal, and a craven Labor party, after its defeat in the most recent election, is now following its lead.

If the world continues on its trajectory, much of mainland Australia is predicted to be uninhabitable within 80 years

Our leaders have been keen to criminalise those who actively campaign for our future. Queensland, the epicentre for major new coalmines, has significantly strengthened its laws against environmental protesters, while lawyers for the Adani mine have publicly stated that they will seek to bankrupt any opponents of their new coalmine. They have already busted the W &J peoples financially and over land.

Meanwhile here we are once more busily trying to ‘drought-proof’ Australia yet again with simplistic solutions that will destroy Australia if we don’t address the real problem exacerbating the underlying cause of our ever-worsening droughts: climate change brought about by human activity.

Australia is already living the grim consequences of climate change. If the world continues on its present trajectory, much of mainland Australia is predicted to be uninhabitable within a lifetime. The climate collapse is here.