Climate change is beginning to cause enormous damage to our world and its inhabitants, both people and nature. But we can limit the damage if we act now.
Taking action won’t cost as much as you might think, and will save money in the long run. Read on to find out how.
The objective is clear. The human race needs to reduce the emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases. This means changing the way we produce energy, how we power transportation and how we do agriculture.
What you and I can do
There are many things each of us can do to be part of the solution, by consuming less and living more sustainably:
- move to electric or hybrid cars;
- where possible, use public transport, cycle, walk, or car pool;
- build energy efficient homes – e.g. use solar panels, improve insulation, etc;
- recycle, which reduces manufacturing;
- support companies that commit to renewable energy and sustainable practices – if the government won’t act, more and more businesses are;
- consume less – do we need all those clothes and gadgets?
- eat less meat – livestock produce greenhouse gases & producing meat uses significant energy and resources;
- support overseas aid organisations that address climate effects in third world countries;
- invest responsibly – there are ethical banks and investment funds;
- buy green energy – consider changing suppliers;
- purchase carbon offsets when we fly.
What Australia needs to do
But individual action isn’t enough, we need to act as a nation.
Australia is suffering from climate change (drought, bushfires, heat waves, storm damage, ecological damage, etc) and we are not pulling our weight worldwide.
Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters.
Australia needs a plan to transition from coal, oil and gas to renewable energy, and to preserve forests and trees.
Transition to renewable energy
- Gradually replace coal or gas powered energy production with wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy. Australia is blessed with enormous renewable energy resources and opportunities.
- Replace a growing proportion of petrol and diesel vehicles with electric vehicles (and build the infrastructure to support them!).
- Encourage homes, commercial buildings and communities to install their own solar power.
Restore the environment
- Re-plant and preserve trees.
- Develop sustainable and regenerative agriculture methods.
Join the movement
You and I can play our part in supporting this:
- Write to politicians, or join a party or lobby group.
- Vote for those who will really act positively.
- Talk to others so the facts of climate change are better understood.
You can be part of a community movement to make a difference in the Hughes electorate.
- Hughes Fact Check aims to inform people and encourage them to vote for a parliamentarian who understands climate change and will act to address it. Read about how you can be part of this.
- You can be part of a wider movement to elect a new local member – see We are Hughes and Hughes Deserves Better.
Likely costs and benefits
Critics often oppose action to address climate change because (they say) it will destroy the economy. But this fear is an exaggeration, and ignores some important facts.
Acting won’t cost so much
It has been calculated that effective climate action will cost “only” 2-5% of global GDP, and have significant benefits:
- Renewables are now cheaper for many purposes. Present coal-fired power stations produce cheaper power than renewable sources, but new power stations are so expensive to build that the electricity they produce is more expensive than the best renewables.
- Renewable energy will employ more people, so renewables could invigorate the Australian economy.
- Currently, it is estimated that government direct and indirect subsidies to the coal industry cost the taxpayer $29billion per year. Moving to renewables could save this.
- Phasing out fossil fuels will have enormous health benefits, by reducing air pollution and respiratory diseases.
- Ameliorating climate change will assist the poor in third world countries and avoid climate refugees.
- The natural world provides environmental services to the human race, for example clean water, pollination by bees, food production, oxygen produced by trees, etc. Addressing climate change will help preserve this natural environment.
The cost of NOT acting
The cost of not acting is actually greater than the cost of acting. It has recently been calculated that failing to address climate change could cost Australia $3.4 trillion and almost 900,000 jobs over the next 50 years.
The cost of transitioning to renewable energy sources and a more energy efficient economy will be much less that the cost of staying as we are. The pain of change will be worth the gain.
- Climate change overview. The World Bank.
- Clean Jobs Plan. Climate Council, Australia.
- Australian Climate Roundtable statement on climate impacts. August 2020.
- Renewable Resources: The Impact of Green Energy on the Economy. Business.com.
- Why Australia needs to be a renewable energy superpower. Mike Cannon-Brookes, Sydney Morning Herald.
- Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia. Renew Economy.
- How much will it cost to mitigate climate change? Our World in Data.
- How much will it cost to cut global greenhouse gas emissions? Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Unchecked climate change tipped to dwarf impact of coronavirus recession. Sydney Morning Herald, November 2020.
- Renewables Increasingly Beat Even Cheapest Coal Competitors on Cost. International Renewable Energy Agency, June 2020.