Editorial – While in Canada this week Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that he will put money before the environment. It has long been know that the Prime Minister doesn’t believe in climate change and to him big business is far more important then the environment. In 2010 on February the 2nd Tony Abbott said “The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.”
Further back in 2002 in a report by the ABC’s 7:30 report he said “I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change.” Most recently he also stated that he would reject and international climate change deal that “clobber the economy”. He also believes that climate change isn’t the most important problem in the world. With ideas like this Tony Abbott really is an environmental vandal. To deny that climate change is a problem and to say it is “absolute crap” is a serious matter.
Climate change is a serious issue and it needs to be addressed not just at a domestic level but also at an international level – it needs to be on the G20 agenda. Climate change has been described as the greatest threat to humanity.45 % of Australians see climate change and global warming as a serious and pressing issue according to the Lowy Institute, while at the same time 63% say that the government should be taking a leadership role on the issue.
The evidence that global warming and climate change is a real issue can be seen by the fact that, according to Union of Concerned Scientists, the past 37 years has been warmer than the 20th century average and over the past 130 years the global temperature has increased 0.17 degrees Celsius with more then half of the increase occurring in the last 35 years. Global climate change will cause crop failure, disrupt food supplies and lead to mass starvation. Rising sea-levels are already affecting pacific island nations and their ability to produce foods and farming due to rising salt levels in the soil. Action needs to take place to combat climate change. Companies need to accept responsibility for what they do to the environment and the people need to be ware of their actions as well. People and especially governments can no longer stick their heads in the sand.
Putting the economy before the environment is detrimental to the growth of the economy and the sustainability of the economy. History has shown that when economies don’t adapt to the changing environment they suffer and collapse. Currently a third of the international economic output comes from countries facing high to extreme risks of climate change. Inaction on climate change will not only destroy our economy it will also destroy the economy of the nations that are already at risk.
Putting the economy before the environment is like vandalising your home hoping to get more money – it’s ludicrous!