Dangerous climate change has arrived. Declaring a climate emergency is no longer just a question of taking steps to stop the escalation of catastrophes in the future, here in Australia we are now beginning to witness the impacts of the climate emergency right at our front doors.
The Climate Emergency Summit in Melbourne on 14-15 February 2020 was a powerful and almost overwhelming collective call to action from all corners of our society, and from both right and left sides of politics. I believe every single one of the two thousand people and one hundred speakers who were there would agree with me on this. It was impressive, inspirational, and important. There was a lot to take home and digest.
On the second day of the summit, two important national networks were formed to enhance climate leadership and work on creating policy certainty: Climate Emergency Australia – for councils in Australia, where there are now 95 councils that officially have declared a climate emergency, and the Safe Climate Declaration, which is a declaration you can support by going online and signing it.
The summit was live-streamed on YouTube, and these recordings are now made available in shorter segments, together with an additional set of audio recordings of the break-out sessions. There are so many of them – so many hours of listening and viewing, that again – its overwhelming in a positive sense.
What you’ll hear in The Sustainable Hour’s audio extract here are just a few of the highlights. Clover Moore’s, Peter Garrett’s, Adam Bandt’s opening speeches, and short excerpts from the hour-long panel discussions.
→ I recommend that you spend some time on viewing many more of the video recordings – they are all lined up on the summit’s YouTube channel
“The solution will come from lots and lots of small decisions. And a sustained effort.”
~ Shane Rattenbury, ACT minister for climate change and sustainability
Several of the speakers, including Adam Bandt and Peter Garrett, called for a ‘Climate War Cabinet’ in Parliament, and for a moratorium on fossil fuel projects. A price on carbon was also often called upon.
→ Hear more audio recordings of breakout-sessions
→ Sign the Safe Climate Declaration
→ SBS News – 1 March 2020:
This Melbourne council declared the world’s first climate emergency – now 28 countries are on board
“Local and national governments in 28 countries have declared climate emergencies since Melbourne’s Darebin Council in 2016. Many now hope after this summer’s bushfires, Australia may declare a national emergency. “
The first duty of a government is to protect the people
“The first duty of a government is to protect the people. There is no greater threat than climate disruption as the world heads to 3C or more warming, possibly by mid-century, yet the prime minister is unwilling to explain the implications.
Asked by Zali Steggall in parliament recently about the costs of 3C of warming, Scott Morrison replied that “we do understand there are costs associated with climate change”, but was incapable of saying what they were.
As a diversionary tactic in our climate debate, it invariably works, focusing attention on the supposedly horrendous costs of action, for example building the new zero-carbon energy system; a discussion which skates over the fact that replacing ageing coal-fired generators with renewable energy will be cheaper than rebuilding with coal or gas, as the solar/wind/battery option slips under the fossil-fuel-energy cost curve.
Commentators repeatedly frame debate around the recent 2050 net zero emissions policy adopted by the ALP, and now supported by many others, in terms of its “costs”, without mentioning the benefits: huge damages avoided by reducing the level of global warming by concerted global action.”
→ The Guardian – 29 February 2020:
Scott Morrison’s duty is to protect the Australian people. There is no greater threat than climate disruption
“Our government continues to focus on the supposedly horrendous cost of climate action without mentioning the benefits.” By Ian Dunlop and David Spratt