Zoom Q&A with Mark ButlerNewsletter
I had the pleasure of hosting a climate change Q&A on Thursday July 16 via Zoom with Mark Butler MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy.
Almost one hundred attendees joined in to listen and we had dozens of excellent questions that provoked some very interesting discussion.
What is very clear when you listen to Mark is that the Labor Party is committed to urgent action on climate change. Central to the Labor Party’s policies on climate change is an understanding that strong action will lead to economic recovery and creation of jobs post-COVID-19. NOT taking serious action on climate change poses far greater risk to our economy.
The climate emergency is not receding. The catastrophic bushfires last summer had a terrible impact on wildlife, habitat and communities. For the past 6 years Australia has recorded the hottest temperatures on record. The summer of 2020/21 is predicted to be another record-breaking season of extremely hot and dry weather. In Australia, we can’t escape the impact of climate change, so we must do what we can to mitigate against it.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, along with over sixty other central banks, including the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan, have sent a stark warning to the Morrison Government – if climate policy ambition isn’t increased and countries continue on the same path to more than 3 degrees of warming, the world can expect global GDP to fall by 25 per cent by 2100. The fact this warning comes from over 60 central banks is unprecedented and exposes the Liberal scare campaign that climate action hurts the economy.
The Morrison Government does not have a great track record on addressing climate change, in fact, several MPs within the government deny that climate change is real. Unfortunately, political conservatives and the Murdoch media have dominated the discussion around climate change for several years now and this has been a barrier to getting much positive change to happen in Australia so far. In the UK and Europe climate change has not been politicised and, unlike the Australian parliament, has bi-partisan support. This is how they have been able to reach net-zero emissions targets, which are on track to reach zero by 2050, with significant reductions by 2030.
There are positive signs that Australians are willing to embrace aggressive action on climate change. Australians lead the world on rooftop solar, with more than two million households having installed rooftop solar already. This is up from 7,400 households in 2007. With our small population in comparison to other countries, this is impressive.
While we might have a deficient leadership in the Morrison government when it comes to climate change, at least we have industries and businesses leading the way with renewable energy. Businesses can’t afford not to integrate sustainable practices and renewable energy sources into their business models. Mark talked about bagasse, as one example, which is the waste from sugar cane which is used as a biofuel for the production of heat, energy and electricity, and in the manufacture of building materials. It is used as a primary fuel source for sugar mills.
We need to drive down emissions and create a sustainable renewable energy industry. This will make manufacturing cheaper and boost our economy. An effective way to do this is to put regulations in place, instead of imposing a carbon price. Thousands of new jobs can be created in the renewable energy industry, an industry that could be led by green hydrogen.
Labor is on board with taking action on climate change: the challenge is to get government MPs to support it. With only benefits to gain from taking action and many dire consequences if we take no action, our future depends on this transition to renewable energy.
This story was originally published in Libby's July Newsletter. Please click here to subscribe to the email newsletter.Share Tweet