While in Canberra for the Climate Action Summit, one of our members was able to attend a meeting with the federal member for Melbourne and Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner.
Four delegates from the Summit went along to the meeting, YCAN was the only group represented in the Melbourne electorate, with other people there from Darebin Climate Action Now, Moreland Climate Group and Rising Tide from Newcastle.
The discussion ranged over a number of topics, including the recent Climate Action Summit (see blog post below) and YCAN’s activities in the seat of Melbourne. Mr Tanner discussed the difficult political nature of the climate change issue, where on one side you have people and businesses directly and immediately affected by policies to stop climate change, while on the other you have the science and general public concern over an issue that is diffuse and will impact progressively over time. The discussion also touched on the government’s funding for carbon capture and storage (clean coal), and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which has been incorporated into the atrocious Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
The minister seemed to be aware of the recent climate change science, although it is unclear whether he understood the implications of runaway climate change.
The YCAN delegate summed up the main conclusions from the meeting:
“While Lindsay Tanner may be aware of the seriousness of climate change, and the threat is poses to humanity’s survival, it is clear that the Federal Government will not show leadership on this issue until it is forced to by the Australian people. Politicians will only respond to political pressure. This means that every single Australian who cares about climate change has to start doing something POLITICAL about it. This can range from writing letters, joining your local climate action group, attending rallies and changing your vote, to non-violent direct action, such as the blockading of coal infrastructure.
“The point is the government won’t act until everyone else does.”