'A decisive rejection of fossil fuels and an enthusiastic embrace of renewable energy is our best hope for a future for our grandchildren. This is a moral and not an economic issue.'
Australia21 director, Bob Douglas, was one of 15 leading Australian experts from climate science, public health, theology, philosophy, politics and economics who gathered at a symposium on ''The Future of Homo Sapiens'' held in October last year in Canberra. They expressed their dismay at the continuing effectiveness of entrenched interests in maintaining a culture of denial and inaction about the seriousness of the developing climate emergency.
Bob commented afterwards:
‘The symposium reinforced my own conviction that our species is doomed unless we can act quickly and decisively to terminate our dependency on fossil fuels. That is a really challenging ask but it is by no means unachievable. The longer we leave it the more impossible the task will become to avoid un-survivable global heating.
It is hard to imagine a more lemming-like response to this crisis than what most of our Australian governments are doing. There is frenetic commitment to export as much of our coal as can be dug out of the ground as fast as possible; destructive fracking of our range-lands, subsidies to big polluters and coal mines as well as retreat from wind and solar energy initiatives and failure to invest adequately in other renewables.
Until there is visible electoral expression of concern about these issues, government policy commitments will remain timid and largely ignored by media that are preoccupied with trivia. The good news is that many Australians are now acting and that the 50,000 strong Australian Youth Climate Coalition is working strategically with politicians on a number of fronts to awaken the dreamers to the reality that the threat is here and now.
A decisive rejection of fossil fuels and an enthusiastic embrace of renewable energy is our best hope for a future for our grandchildren. This is a moral and not an economic issue.’
Australia21 is seeking funding for a project focused on planning for emergency responses to the impact of a global environmental crisis on Australia. If you care about this issue please help us to raise awareness about the need for evidence-based action on this critical issue by donating to Australia21 now
Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas AO is a retired epidemiologist, and the founding chair of Australia21 and of SEE-Change ACT. The full text of his opinion piece, which was published in the Canberra Times on 19 October 2012 is available here
Photograph: Nick carson at en.wikipedia licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license