19 February, 2021
Lack of 2050 Emissions Target Mystifying
Opinion piece, Cairns Local News Feb 19, 2021
I’ve always felt proud to be Australian and blessed to live in “the lucky country.”
I love living in FNQ, seeing the lush green mountains out of every window, exploring the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. I love the local creeks and walking along the picture postcard beaches. I love the warm, friendly community. I feel blessed every day to raise my two beautiful daughters in such a family-friendly place.
But since becoming a mother, I’ve learned a lot about climate change and the risk it poses to these incredible places and my children’s future. The terrible bushfires that devastated our nation last summer and three mass coral bleaching events in just five years on our Great Barrier Reef were confronting demonstrations of what that future will look like under a heating planet.
This is why I feel confused about our nation’s inaction on climate change. And why I am urging our Federal MPs, especially our locals like Warren Entsch, to support Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill as an important first step towards protecting the world famous natural icons of FNQ and safeguarding the future for our children.
The Bill would enshrine net zero emissions by 2050 for Australia in law, meaning our Federal Government would have to act on reducing the emissions which are causing the climate catastrophes like the bushfires and mass bleaching events.
It’s important to remember this is just the start. For the sake of our Reef, and thousands in the tourism and hospitality industries in Cairns and surrounds that rely on its health for their livelihoods, we really need to reach net zero long before 2050.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that 70-90% of our Great Barrier Reef will be lost if we reach 1.5C of global warming. And scientists predict we will blow this target if we don’t ramp up our emissions reductions very soon.
With other countries, huge corporations like BP, institutions like the Australian Defence Force and organisations like the National Farmers Federation all acknowledging climate change and supporting a net zero target, Australian politicians’ reluctance to make similar commitments is a complete mystery to me.
We have the potential to be leaders in the transition towards a decarbonised global economy and the climate bill will provide us with a pathway to get there. We are a sunburnt country, with wide open plains to implement current renewables solutions and incredible intellectual resources to facilitate innovation towards new ones.
I’ve always felt proud to be Australian and I hope our leaders will step up to the plate so that I can stay proud, knowing that we are doing our part to protect our children’s future. Supporting Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill is a great first step.
Eve Elliott- Smith
Australian Parents For Climate Action