Its clear people across the country are worried about climate change. Right now, we can all see, smell and feel it happening around us. There’s no greater evidence than the devastating bushfires ravaging every state in Australia – fires which are indisputably supercharged by a warming planet.
We know climate change is real. We believe the science. We know climate change is a global problem that needs a global solution. And we know every country must play its part.
Australia needs to play a strong role in reducing global emissions – and first and foremost, that starts at home. Our coal-fired power plants are getting older, and they’re becoming increasingly unreliable. What’s more, the economics for new coal-fired plants just don’t stack up.
We need to move to renewable energy, and we need a government that plans for the transition long-term. That’s crystal clear. Reliable renewables, powered by our unlimited reserves of wind and sun, are the cheapest and cleanest source of new electricity generation.
But we need to make that transition while supporting Australian workers and Australian jobs. And any honest conversation needs to acknowledge the facts.
Steel-making coal is going to be a huge part of addressing climate change and supporting renewable energy. It’s an essential ingredient to building new wind turbines and solar farms. And it’s one of our biggest exports.
Compared to coal from most competitor countries, Australian coal is of a relatively high quality generating lower carbon emissions – so it’s going to stay competitive in the global market as the world takes action to drive emissions down even more.
Our focus needs to be on stronger emissions targets in Australia – and stronger international agreements to drive down emissions around the world.
Australia needs to contribute our fair share to the international response to climate change as set out in the Paris agreement, to limit warming to well below 2 degrees, and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. This requires all countries to adopt serious emissions reduction targets, aimed at delivering net zero emissions by 2050.
But right now we have a Government that doesn't even believe in climate change, let alone doing anything to address it. They don’t have a plan to guide investment in renewable energy. They don’t have a plan to drive down power prices. And they don’t have a plan to protect jobs.
The most concerning aspect of this is that the Morrison Government refuses to increase their Abbott-era 2030 target of cutting emissions by 26 percent on 2005 levels, which scientists tell us is consistent with more than 3 degrees of warming.
I know Australia has the potential to become a renewable energy superpower – and I want us to once again lead the international response to global warming.
I hope you’ll continue to engage with me, and others across the political divide, to make your voice heard.