Australia is the canary in the coalmine

The latest IPCC report on global warming was released this week. As expected, it showed that we are still not responding quickly enough to slow the onset of catastrophic deterioration to our climate.

Australia is the canary in the coalmine.

Woman trapped in Toowoomba floods
Woman trapped in Toowoomba floods. (

This week we have seen unprecedented flooding down the east coast. Lives have been lost, tens of thousands of homes are submerged under water, and there’s no immediate relief in sight.

You would expect our major parties to react to this report, acknowledging its significance while we suffer the consequences of avoiding previous warnings, but no. Not a word as far as I can tell. Sure, the present emergency demands our immediate attention, but surely some recognition of the report’s predictions and importance could have been given.

Once again, vested interests will ensure that we continue along the denialist path.

Nothing is going to save us unless we’re prepared to suffer an abrupt change to our economy to make it consistent with zero carbon emissions. It’s feasible, but not with our present leadership.

The Culprits

This is what I don’t understand. It’s been made manifestly clear that the primary contributor to global warming is the consumption of fossil fuels. Ergo, we should stop their extraction. A clear no-brainer.

Yet our government, and no doubt many others, not only does not take steps to curtail their continued mining and pumping but approves further licences and continues subsidies to fossil fuel companies.

This is despite successive IPCC reports warning us that we’re heading towards an uninhabitable planet for future generations. Despite the increase in disastrous weather events around the world.

The villains are governments controlled by fossil fuel companies. Governments are the only entity that can overrule their avarice. Governments have everything they need to bring them to heal. They have no excuses for lack of action.

Governments are, in parliamentary democracies, elected by you and me. We need to change the government. We must as a matter of urgency support those parties that treat global warming as an immediate and certain threat to our future and are not afraid to stand up to the corporate giants and their vested interests.

It’s up to us.