Australian news, and some related international items

‘Climate Emergency’ – the phrase that elicits anger and outrage

‘You have utterly no clue’: why ‘climate emergency’ is Australia’s ultimate outrage trigger At any level of Australian government, there is little so divisive as suggesting that a climate emergency be declared, Guardian  Ben Smee @BenSmee, Mon 30 Dec 2019 Earlier this year, Trudi Beck, a general practitioner from Wagga Wagga, wrote to councillors across New South Wales urging them to acknowledge the climate crisis and declare a local emergency.

Some responses were positive. Others less so.

Mark Hall, a Lachlan shire councillor and Baptist pastor, told Beck: “Stick to medicine – you have utterly no clue about climate science. Your email intrusion is truly not welcome.”

In Australia, as ever when it comes to climate policy, the process has been polarising and frustrating.

The leaders of one town might have recognised the climate crisis and committed to developing adaptation measures to help the community deal with the impacts of global heating. The next town over might have decided that climate change has nothing to do with local government business such as carting rubbish or fixing potholes.

“We went from talking about the climate emergency, to now all of a sudden we’re living in it,” says Sarah Mollard, a general practitioner from the coastal NSW town of Port Macquarie.

“It was incredibly unsettling to experience the sky going from blue to red in the space of a few hours. It’s extraordinarily unsettling to be in your home and see smoke haze in your home. This is my home, this is my safe space, and I can’t keep my children safe in it.”

A few months ago, Mollard and other community members began to lobby for the Port Macquarie council to declare a climate emergency. In September, a relatively benign council motion to develop a “climate change action plan” was deadlocked at four-all. The mayor’s casting vote shelved the idea indefinitely…….

Newcastle, the home of the world’s largest coal export port, has declared an emergency and has a policy to work towards a just transition. The Wollongong City c-ouncil – which along with Newcastle was for decades an industrial and steelmaking hub – has also recognised the climate crisis.

In Queensland, where climate politics is most fraught amid a rush to support coal exports, only the Noosa council has declared an emergency. It also set a zero net emissions target by 2026…….

Conservative Wagga Wagga, home of the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, earlier this year declared a climate emergency. A few weeks later, after an increasingly nasty debate, councillors rescinded that declaration.

Outraged councillors would later demand the mayor, Greg Conkey, drive an electric vehicle to Sydney and back. He did and has said the journey was a success.

Beck had been instrumental in building local support in Wagga Wagga, and in July, while the city was locked in debate about the declaration, she contacted other council areas soliciting support…….

So far, 84 jurisdictions in Australia covering about a quarter of the population – mostly cities and local government areas – have declared a climate emergency. The first elected body in the world to act, Darebin council in Victoria, is credited with starting a movement that is now supported by governments representing 800 million people worldwide, including the European Union and Bangladesh.


December 30, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

1 Comment »

  1. […] ‘Climate Emergency’ – the phrase that elicits anger and outrage — Antinuclear […]


    Pingback by ‘Climate Emergency’ – the phrase that elicits anger and outrage — Antinuclear – damola's blog | December 30, 2019 | Reply

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