Election diary No. 17: Wednesday, 9 March 2022
In their seemingly endless twists and turns, the Queensland floods found their way into New South Wales, reminding us of the frequency of such events.
Indifferent of science, our prime minister could only describe the two drenched states as “natural” disasters. The death toll is now climbing, and the clean-up cost is expected to run into the billions.
We are on the threshold of a catastrophic period on this planet we call Earth – the home for billions of her inhabitants.
In the same week, the world witnessed the beginnings of a conflict in Ukraine begun by President Putin, that would leave us in a state of disbelief if not petrified that a third world war would eventuate.
During the invasion, a Ukraine nuclear power station narrowly avoided melting down after being attacked by the Russians. It highlighted the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and put all else aside.
Not just because the cost of petrol is now sky high, but also that our dependence on them is helping fund an invasion.
Notwithstanding the hell that these issues invoke, it is the timing that our climate change denier opponents would choose to focus our attention again, claiming in some fanciful way that our focus on climate is the cause of the conflict in Ukraine.
It is not only a bizarre suggestion to make whilst misery surrounds us. It is also an insulting accusation. The curtain on a tragedy is being raised in the theatre of their backyards, but they are willing to turn the spotlight onto the subject of climate change yet again.
Now, let me take you through the sequence of events that prompted me to write this article. On Monday, 28 February, Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Blair wrote a piece, Woke War III: Wokens stay on message amid invasion (paywalled) using the conflict in Ukraine to highlight their “pet causes.” Yes, that’s what they had been doing all week.
Over at The Monthly, Rachael Withers wrote this sequence of events:
“Writing in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (and dutifully republished by The Australian), former PM Tony Abbott joined the raft of commentators trying to link Russia’s invasion to a “weakened” West’s obsession with social and environmental issues.”
Abbott wrote with all the knowledge that over 15 years of denialism presumably gives an acknowledged liar that “The West’s bigger surrender has been economical and cultural.”
“He went on to criticise all three members of AUKUS for their focus on reducing emissions, implying that it was this that had emasculated the West (along with globalisation, “cultural Marxists”, COVID restrictions and the fact that you couldn’t even make Monty Python’s Life of Brian these days).”
Then Abbott’s former Chief of staff, Peta Credlin, yes, the one who confessed that Abbott had only ever treated climate change as a means to a political end, followed up the next day in The Australian with this load of crap. She suggested that Australians would be unlikely to stand and fight like Ukrainians and that the security crisis should prompt a “rethink” on climate change.
Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt never to be left out of a bit of truth bashing, was not far behind them, arguing that:
“… the war in Ukraine has exposed the lethal danger of falling for green myths … Russian president Vladimir Putin would never have dared invade Ukraine if the green movement hadn’t first made Europe look helpless,” he added.
All Abbott ever does when he enters the realm of serious discussion is highlight the fact that he was grossly unsuitable for the office of Prime Minister of Australia. However, the most pressing matters regarding climate action came out of all this unworldly nonsense.
Billionaire climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes did us all a favour with this tweet:
A reminder as petrol, gas & coal prices soar due to a horrible war… the price of the sunshine & wind powering 30% of our grid & all our electric vehicles… hasn’t changed.
It’s still a $0 cost input.
Energy independence comes from renewable abundance.
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢🇦🇺 (@mcannonbrookes) February 25, 2022
Witty but true. On top of that, the US climate envoy and former Presidential candidate John Kerry pointed out the “massive emissions” the war would likely cause and distract countries from achieving the net-zero goal.
Peta Credlin, on the other hand, rather nonsensically reminded us that failing to achieve those targets would be a threat to our very existence:
“As though future generations have a greater right to life than the children of Ukraine,”
The far-right denialists continue to complain about the West’s obsession with emissions reduction, even though we’re not making any progress on that front.
The Government has been reluctant to mention the IPCC report even though climate change is reflected in the floods occurring along the east coast.
And even though both parties were still internally fighting over their party’s 2050 emissions-reduction targets. (2050 for the Coalition and 2030 for Labor) both have yet to indicate how they will urgently do it and, at the same time, cut whatever it is that binds us to fossil fuels.
Vic Labor recently announced a plan for an offshore wind industry, which is a highly commendable project.
The Greens last week also announced a policy to help coal workers transition to clean energy.
However, the reality is that all we’ve got to show for the deal that the Liberals struck with the Nationals to speak the words “net-zero by 2050” is more money for the regions that have nothing to do with climate change.
We may not be part of this shambolic war in Eastern Europe, but it’s evident that we are on several fronts facing matters of the gravest concern. They are matters that involve the lives and livelihoods of working people.
Regrettably, that the climate change deniers used a week when war broke out in Europe to peddle their bullshit is distressing.
The week was also bursting with examples of why we need to do more on climate and not claim that we need to do less.
My previous diary entry: If the rules are rotten and they don’t change them, so too will be the government.
My thought for the day
Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!