Senate debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change

6:01 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

To state the utterly bleeding obvious, our climate is breaking down around us. Stop and think about what that actually means for a minute. It means that the life support systems of this planet are failing. And what do we get in debates from the major parties in this place while the climate is breaking down around us? We get denial and obfuscation from the government benches, and somehow what we're getting from Labor is, 'It's all the Greens fault.' Let me remind Senator McAllister: it is not the Greens but the Labor Party that still supports the Carmichael coalmine. It is not the Greens but the Labor Party that supports fracking the Beetaloo Basin. It is not the Greens but the Labor Party that supports fracking the Galilee Basin. It is not the Greens but the Labor Party, along with the Liberal Party, that still supports the tens of billions of dollars worth of direct public subsidies going straight into the pockets of the fossil fuel polluters in this country. But somehow, from Senator McAllister and Labor, it is all the Greens fault.

What I've noticed in this debate as it's evolved over the years and the decades is that the rhetoric of climate denialism is shifting. It's shifting away from challenging the science—and I exclude Senator Roberts here, for obvious reasons. The mainstream climate deniers in this place have shifted away from trying to dispute the science, because the science is overwhelming. So what they do now is work on delay. One of the primary ways that political parties work on delay is by setting targets off in the never-never. And the party most culpable for doing that in this place is the Australian Labor Party, who have got a 2050 target. Fine; have a 2050 target—no problems there—but stop using it as cover for not having a 2030 target. The science is abundantly clear: we've got a decade or less left to take serious, significant and—yes, I will say it—radical action to save the life support systems on our planet, to fix the climate breakdown. Any political party that does not have a 2030 target might as well be a party of climate deniers.

Every day the majors refuse to set a 2030 target in line with the science, they are deciding that the millions of dollars that they get from their deep-pocketed fossil fuel donors are more important than the lives of ordinary Australians and ultimately the climate that sustains all life on this planet. Every day they fail to have a 2030 emissions reduction target in line with the science, they condemn our country to more summers like the one that we just suffered through, they condemn the Great Barrier Reef to death and they condemn millions of animal species around this planet to extinction. What have they sold out all those things for? A few dirty dollars from their fossil fuel donors.


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