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The Biggest Challenge for our New Government?

Image by Adriano Ruiz

After a decade of climate change denial and obfuscation, with minimal progress on the decarbonisation of the Australian economy, the new Government is presented with a climate challenge that has grown massively since they were last in power.

Australia is widely viewed as a laggard on decarbonisation by the international community, but the reality is much worse than simply being a little slower than our peers. Scientists around the world are dumbfounded by the acceleration of climate change, even more so by the politicisation of the global response and the resulting inaction.

Accordingly, the government has an obvious and urgent need to act in line with the climate science rather than perpetuate politics and business-as-usual.

Failure to act rapidly means Australia will risk endlessly increasing expenditure responding to climate-related disasters and re-building legacy infrastructure, whilst being excluded from international export markets. Not to mention putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk as the world and financial markets increasingly shun carbon intensive energy sources and products.

This action will take many forms, inter alia: the imperative of stopping fossil fuel expansion, decarbonising the economy through the rapid transition towards renewable energy sources, adoption of technologies like electronic vehicles and green hydrogen to limited emissions, societal and behavioural change to reduce energy demand, and much more.

Unprecedented economic opportunities come with this transition. Seizing them will create jobs and export markets that don’t exist today. Jobs that will last well into the future, that will sustain regional and urban communities for many decades to come, enhancing the collective wealth of our nation.

Speed is of the essence as the window to avoid increasingly dangerous climate impacts is closing fast.Irrespective of its electoral platform, the new government must rapidly demonstrate that it has the political will to face these realities.

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