Five things the government doesn’t want you to know about climate change

The following text is from a flyer that Yarra Climate Action Now has produced. For electronic or hard copies of the flyer contact us on YarraCAN@gmail.com.

The world’s scientists are telling us that we are facing a climate emergency. We are running out of time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and need to act urgently. The effects of runaway climate change are unthinkable and must be avoided at all costs. However, our governments are beholden to vested interests in the fossil fuel and other dirty industry lobbies and are not dealing with this issue adequately. This is what you need to know:

1. The Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is worse than nothing.
The scheme will:
– Lock in inadequate emissions reduction targets of 5-25% by 2020 on 2000 levels – completely out of touch with what the scientists are calling for.
– Undermine international negotiations on a global emissions agreement by showing Australia is not willing to pull its weight.
– Expose taxpayers to possible compensation claims when we have a government that will actually take climate change seriously by giving pollution property rights to polluters.
– Result in a massive transfer of wealth from all of us to already rich, polluting companies, through free permits and other “compensation” giveaways.
– Disenfranchise voluntary action by households and communities, by ensuring their efforts do nothing to reduce emissions and only free up more permits for polluters.

It needs to be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board. Even without a scheme Australia must participate in international negotiations and so will be forced to reduce emissions in any case.

2. Climate science (it’s worse than you think)
As climate scientists study our climate system, they are discovering that they initially underestimated the effects of carbon pollution. Global warming is happening faster than previously stated, and most governments are basing their policies on outdated science. See key outcomes from the March 2009 gathering of climate scientists in Copenhagen.

3. Climate change is bad for the economy, fighting climate change creates jobs!
Climate change will cause progressively worsening economic shocks, which we are already witnessing, such as prolonged drought and extreme events (bushfire, heatwaves and windstorms). It will do the same to our trading partners. As climate change worsens, it has the capacity to cause recessions and depressions. Fighting climate change on the other hand, is likely to stimulate the economy and create jobs, since it will require a large investment to install renewable energy technologies and these technologies are more labour intensive than the old-fashioned dirty ones. See: www.unep.org/greeneconomy

4. Individual action is not enough
Governments like to talk about black balloons and changing light bulbs, but the truth is to stop climate change we will need significant change to business and politics as usual. This will require not only individual, but collective action that shifts the power balance in this country away from the big polluters and towards the Australian public.

5. The necessary technologies already exist
The technologies required to shift our economy to 100% renewable energy already exist. We do not need to wait for unproven technologies that are decades away like carbon capture and storage (clean coal). We can make the change now while leaving the coal in the ground. See: www.beyondzeroemissions.org and www.wecansolveit.org