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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Australia's Climate Contradiction: Rising Risks vs Fossil Fuel Favours

The Australian Government has just published an official reminder of the dire implications of climate change: the National Climate Risk Assessment Report. But despite its acknowledgement of the huge and escalating costs of climate change, the government is keeping the fossil fuel pumps flowing.


Sadly and ironically, the report coincides with the fifth mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef in the past eight years. And this is the one that could likely push the reef into palliative care. The report has also been accompanied by blasting autumn heatwaves that have set new temperature records across the continent.


Globally, every month since last June has set a new temperature record for that respective month. This February was also the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. The government's report clearly outlines the huge risks of this escalation: from defence and national security, to our economy, health, infrastructure, the natural environment, primary industries, food security, and the well-being of regional, remote and First Nations communities.


But more significantly, the report stands in stark contrast with the government's weak and apologetic approach to dealing with the primary cause of these risks: fossil fuels. Indeed, despite rhetoric about net zero targets by 2050, it continues actively to invest in and encourage fossil fuel expansionism.


Australia's fossil fuel subsidies exceed $11 billion per annum. They come in various forms, including direct funding for fossil fuel projects, tax breaks, and grants aimed at expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and operations. The government also continues to encourage and approve new coal and gas projects and its recent legislative changes aim to make Australia a dumping ground for other countries CO2 emissions.


While approving four new coal mine projects since becoming our Environment Minister in 2022, Tanya Plibersek has blocked and delayed multiple renewable energy projects. And, as if our oceans are somehow not part of our environment, the government is now pushing ahead with legislation to take environmental assessment approval powers away from Tanya Plibersek and give them to the Resources Minister, Madeleine King. For gas projects at sea, they will be putting the fox in charge of the chickens.


This dissonance between recognition of the urgent need for climate adaptation and resilience, and the government's direct fuelling the crisis on the other, is not just paradoxical and frustrating. It undermines the very efforts necessary for safeguarding Australia's future.


The threats outlined in the National Climate Risk Assessment Report are not distant probabilities; they are immediate concerns that demand concerted action and shifts now.


If the government really does care about the future of our kids and our country, it must come clean. It must cease its fossil-fuelled addiction and swiftly transition away from fossil fuels. This is not just an environmental imperative; it is an economic and social necessity for Australia's prosperity, security, and quality of life - now and in the decades to come.

Heatwave map from ABC News.

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ian.bayly
Mar 12

Thanks for this, Greg. The following letter of mine, which covers some of the same ground, was submitted to The Age on Wednesday 6 March 2024 but not published:-Gittins and King of the climate wreckers (147 words)

Gittins and King of the climate wreckers (147 words)

Ross Gittins (“I’ll be dead before the worst of it, but I’m fearful for those who won’t”, 6/11) sends us a powerful, articulate and alarming message for which I admire him greatly. Like Gittins, I’ll be dead before the worst of the climate chaos plays havoc with humanity but I fear for the welfare of my eight grandchildren. Meanwhile the Albanese government thumbs its nose at climate science by opening up new coal and…


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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
Mar 12
Replying to

😀

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ian.bayly
Mar 12

Thanks for this, Greg. The following letter of mine, which covers some of the same ground, was submitted to The Age on Wednesday 6 March 2024 but not published:-Gittins and King of the climate wreckers (147 words)

Ross Gittins (“I’ll be dead before the worst of it, but I’m fearful for those who won’t”, 6/11) sends us a powerful, articulate and alarming message for which I admire him greatly. Like Gittins, I’ll be dead before the worst of the climate chaos plays havoc with humanity but I fear for the welfare of my eight grandchildren. Meanwhile the Albanese government thumbs its nose at climate science by opening up new coal and gas fields and heavily subsidizing fossil fuels.

Those hoping for…


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Nigel Howard
Nigel Howard
Mar 12

Great article Greg

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
Mar 12
Replying to

Thanks Nigel 😀

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