We know that climate change is already making natural disasters worse. And, we know that action now means less pain later. Cam Walker presents some of the impacts climate change is currently having on natural disasters, in Chain Reaction #142.
August 4, 2022. The House of Representatives has passed the Climate Change 2022 bill. After nine years of delay and denial by the Coalition government, Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the rapid action by the Albanese government to enact it’s signature climate commitment. The Labor government, the Greens, community independents and Liberal MP Bridget Archer all voted to support the bill. Sadly, the Coalition opted to remain on the wrong side of both the science and history and voted against the bill.
Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the release of the national State of the Environment report. Although required to produce them every five years, the previous Coalition government held up the release of the report, delaying Australia’s ability to respond to the biodiversity crisis outlined in the document. Australia has produced a national state of environment report every five years since 1995. They assess every aspect of Australia’s environment and heritage, covering rivers, oceans, air, land and urban areas. They show that our natural environment is in continuous decline. This report is the first to consider how our declining natural environment is impacting on the health and well-being of Australians. It is also the first to include Indigenous co-authors.
Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the rapid movement of the new federal government on key election commitments, including those covering environment, climate and energy. We note that the government has already acted to update Australia’s emission reduction targets from the 26-28% target of the Coalition to a new commitment of 43% reduction by 2030. The federal ALP has a resounding mandate to meet and then exceed its commitments on climate, energy and environment. There has never been a more supportive federal parliament, with strong representation from the Greens and climate independents, who will back more ambitious action. We believe that continued rapid implementation of the existing platform will create many opportunities for deeper emissions cuts and deeper reform of environmental laws.
We know that Australia is facing ever worse climate change driven disasters (‘UnNatural’ disasters). These include worsening fire seasons, longer heatwaves, increased flooding and longer droughts. The following are some suggestions on how Australia should be responding to longer and more intense fire seasons. Having a new national government offers huge opportunities to fine tune how we fight fires. The first thing, of course, is to stop contributing to climate change. This means increasing our ambition on climate change (for instance committing to a 75% emission reduction target by 2030) and ending the development of all new fossil fuel projects. Reducing emissions will reduce future climate impacts. We also need to increase our ability to fight fires as seasons get longer and more intense.