We Can’t Afford ‘Two Steps Forward, One Step Back’


Why do Australians, despite living in one of the sunniest and windiest places on Earth, still get most of our energy from dirty black stuff in the ground? Why do we put our precious agricultural land and water at risk in the process?

The standard response is that fossil fuels are cheap. But of course, they simply aren't. This is especially the case when you factor in government subsidies and the costs to future generations of increased droughts, floods and extreme weather.

The real answer lies somewhere within a complex web of politics and vested interests determined to protect their mega coal profits. Thankfully we finally began the dangerous task of taking them on in the last parliament.

Australia's price on pollution and the billions that came with it for clean energy was historic. We finally began to turn the ship around.

Solar arrays popped up on rooftops across the nation. People marched for Port Augusta to go solar thermal. Energy efficiency was improved on farms, at factories and in lounge rooms.

We kick-started the long over-due shift away from fossil fuels to solar and wind. After only a year we're already seeing results. Pollution from the energy sector is down 6%. Jobs in new clean industries are up. Australia's leadership is helping drive stronger global action.

We took a big leap forwards, but now Mr Abbott's agenda puts all of this at risk.

It feels like the new government is living on a different planet to the rest of us. The world's leading experts have issued their clearest assessment yet that global warming is unequivocal. Scientists are as certain that it's caused by human pollution as they are that cigarettes cause cancer.

But in its first few months, the government has pressured NSW to lift restrictions on polluting coal seam gas, made a deal with Campbell Newman to fast track coal mines and coal ports, sacked our best climate scientists, and all but claimed victory in a battle to tear down our polluter pays, price on pollution.

This is where the Greens come in. Australia would not have had meaningful action on global warming without us. Now it's up to us to defend it.

The hard reality is that on global warming, we simply cannot afford two steps forward, one step back. It could take decades to recover the gains we've made if momentum is lost.

Labor politicians are busy talking about themselves. We will keep them to their promises and be the true opposition on global warming. An uncertain Senate means our courageous and steady hand will be all the more important.

The Greens will stand against PM Abbott's reckless global warming policy void. Stand with us. Not a single step back.