More than 20 prominent Australians today – 23 June 2016 – call for emergency-scale action on climate change in an open letter to the new parliament, published in The Age.
Signatories run across the political spectrum, and include business leaders, scientists, a former Australian of the Year and a Nobel Laureate.
The statement calls for an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions.
“The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events (and) the melting of large ice sheets… make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot. The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance. We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.”
“We are out of time for gradualist policy. We need courage rather than procrastination from our aspiring leaders. Emergency action is a call increasingly being taken up by leading scientists and responsible leaders around the world as extreme events escalate.”
“Our children top the list of those most likely to suffer from climate change. Their future, their health must be our number one priority. We are doing too little, too late. As a society we need to step up.”
“Climate policy is not providing a secure future for Australians. The implications of rising sea levels and drowning and failed states are underestimated. Just as we have faced fire, flood, drought and military threat in the past we now need to throw everything we can at the climate crisis. We must make action on global warming the nation’s highest-level priority.”
The open letter was initiated by community climate groups, motivated by leading scientists who described a ‘climate emergency’ as warming exceeded 1.5°C in early 2016.
» See list of who supports the petition
Open letter in The Age on 23 June 2016
“At the Paris climate talks, scientists and people from low-lying island states set 1.5°C of warming as a red line that must not be crossed.
However, earlier this year, the global average temperature spiked past 1.6°C of warming.
The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events, the melting of large ice sheets and recent venting of methane from thawing permafrost make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot.
The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance.
There must be an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions.
We must begin the enormous task of safely drawing down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.”
Signatories to the open letter:
Philip Adams, broadcaster
Kirstie Albion, CEO, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Paul Barratt, former head, Defence Dept
Professor Judy Brett, historian
Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions
Geoff Cousins AM, President, Australian Conservation Foundation
Mary Crooks, CEO, The Victorian Women’s Trust
Professor Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate for Medicine
Ian Dunlop, former chair, Australian Coal Association
Professor Tim Flannery, palaeontologist
John Hewson, businessman and former Opposition leader
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, marine scientist
Professor David Karoly, atmospheric scientist
Professor Carmen Lawrence, former Western Australia premier
Dr Colin Long, Victorian Sec., National Tertiary Education Union
Professor Robert Manne, political scientist
Bill McKibben, author and co-founder, 350.org
Christine Milne, Global Greens Ambassador
Paul Oosting, CEO, GetUp
David Ritter, CEO, Greenpeace Australia
Professor Peter Singer, moral philosopher
Professor Fiona Stanley, epidemiologist
Dr John (Charlie) Veron, pioneer coral researcher
Mark Wakeham, CEO, Environment Victoria
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— David Spratt (@djspratt) June 23, 2016
— ClimatePetitionSTORM (@petitionSTORM) June 23, 2016
— John Englart EAM (@takvera) June 22, 2016