Hanson Young, We are facing catastrophic climate change

Sarah Hanson Young

Senator Sarah HANSON-YOUNG (Senate Speech Climate Change): I move: 
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment (Senator Hume) to a question without notice asked by Senator McKim today relating to climate change.

Senator McKim was asking the very important question: does the environment minister of Australia have a duty of care to our nation's children? The reason this is an important question is that right now we are confronted with some of the most damning and serious scientific facts that humanity has ever seen. We are facing catastrophic climate change, catastrophic weather events and a threat to the whole of humanity. Yet what we see from this government is a response that is glib, that is full of spin and that is more of the marketing regimes of Mad Men than it is of a responsible government. And, while this is unfolding, we have right on foot an appeal to the Federal Court of Australia of our own environment minister to deny that, as a minister of the Crown, she owes a duty of care to Australia's children for the impacts of global warming and climate catastrophe.

Last night the UN's IPCC handed down a very chilling summary of what our world faces if we do not act. It is crystal clear that this is the decade in which we need drastic action to cut carbon pollution if we are to give our planet and humanity a fighting chance. I think about the responsibilities as adults in this place, as parents, as politicians, as leaders, to not just the next generation but also today's young people when we are facing a cliff, and, if we go over, it's going to be very difficult—in fact, near impossible—to return. We have to get out of fossil fuels. We have to end the expansion of coal, oil and gas and we have to transition faster than ever to renewables and clean energy sources if we are to get our climate back on track. We need to be investing in our environment and biodiversity to help Mother Nature repair herself.

And all the while we have the Prime Minister spinning and spinning and spinning, pretending that he is doing everything in his power—gaslighting the entire nation; undermining the health and the safety of our children and putting at risk our economy and our trade relations across the globe. Who is the Prime Minister trying to fool? The climate is reacting because it is in trouble. The environment is in collapse because we are polluting it. Our children are demanding action because they have been taught the science, understand it and want better from our political leaders.

The marketing and the spin is not going to get us out of this crisis. What we need are deep cuts to carbon pollution, and we need them now. Current policies have us on track for a four-degree warming of our planet. That is a catastrophe. We are running out of time. If we don't turn this ship around, we will face even more severe bushfires, more severe flood events, and more severe weather, famine, drought and disease. That is why we owe our children a duty of care—because we have been warned. We can't pretend we don't know. Having a nice, pithy line in a press conference from the leader of the nation does nothing to help reduce the pollution and put our climate back on track. Australia needs to get with the program. Our Prime Minister needs to read the science. His government need to stop the denial and stop the delay. They owe our children a duty of care.

Chamber Senate


Speaker: Hanson-Young, Sen Sarah

Source: Parliament of Australia

Comments :