In August, climate change and the urgent and undeniable imperative to rapidly decarbonise the world dominated the news, after the sixth United Nations IPCC Report was published.
There is no question that the IPCC analysis shows that the choices of the Australian government, other world leaders and major fossil fuel corporations have caused grave harm to us, our loved ones, communities, future generations’ health and security, and the beautiful world we live in.
What it also showed though, is that by acting now so much can still be saved. We are standing in a unique moment: we have all the knowledge we need about how bad the current situation is, and what must be done to avoid further harm; and we have a window to act.
Two of the IPCC’s findings in particular remain with me. First, that every emission matters. Second, that this report, in the UN Secretary General’s words ‘must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet’.
I know this determination drives EJA’s clients, supporters and so many of our allies in the climate movement. And, it drives communities across the country who are facing the impact of the previous poor choices made by Australian leaders.
It’s not always the case that global research about the planet makes our every action in Australia critical. But that is the case now. And there is enormous and mounting force in the work across the climate movement.
Right now, EJA’s clients, like Claire and Brooklyn are stepping up their argument for the revocation of the giant Carmichael coal mine in Queensland on climate change grounds, testing legal options that have never been tested before.
At the same time, our client, Ava Shearer, a young snorkelling instructor from Port Douglas awaits the outcome of her intervention before the Minister to prevent the approval of Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Mine – a mine which is literally planned to open on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.
And, as I write, we continue to defend Australia’s designated renewable energy funder from the Commonwealth Government’s latest attempt to see it provide funding to fossil fuel technologies.
There are many ways you can act. But, the answers to climate change aren’t ones built on individual change in our lives. They will be built by governments and corporate players changing, driven by political and market realities and the pressure to confront that reality by people like us.
The first step is in making this moment one about the simple, undeniable imperative for the Australian Government to act now. In the coming months, we will continue to share our building climate work, and the ways you can help us act.