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A Week on from the IPCC. What has been WA’s Climate Response?

8 March 2022

Michael Slezak from the ABC did a useful analysis of the response of federal politicians (or lack thereof) to the massively important IPCC report last week.

His analysis showed there were no media releases on climate change from Environment Minister Sussan Ley, or Angus Taylor or the PM. Nor were there any tweets about the IPCC report either.

As Michael Slezak  put it: “In general, both major parties were relatively muted, especial in contrast to the urgency expressed by the world’s climate scientists and the strong criticism of a failure of leadership. Here’s Guterres on this: Video message by UN Secretary General at the WGII AR6 press conference – YouTube

A week on I thought it would be worth doing something similar on the WA political response to the IPCC report and recent climate change impacts, so I looked at the media statements of the Minister for Environment and Climate Action and the Premier. In fact, I looked at all the WA Government’s media releases.

The response from the WA was complete silence on anything to do with climate change or the IPCC.

The Climate Action Minister has not mentioned climate change at all since the IPCC report came out. He did however pick up some rubbish as part of Clean up Australia Day events.

The Water Minister (who is probably the most vocal on climate in the WA Government) used a media question on climate to push responsibility onto to Federal Government.

The closest we got to anything on anything like climate action was what I suspect was a coincidental media release by the Transport Minister announcing trial of an electric CAT bus.

The jarring contrast of a trial of a single electric bus (in a fleet of over 1500 fossil fuel buses) in the face of widespread climate collapse is an image that has stuck with me all week. In a week that not only a massively important IPCC report but also saw large parts of Australia’s east coast under water only a few weeks after large parts of WA were on fire, is a trial of a single electric bus all we have got in WA?

The WA Opposition Alliance of the Liberal and National parties were no better. All of the Liberals media releases for the week were on health and COVID. The Opposition Spokesperson for Climate Action (the National’s Shane Love) only media release was on a road closure.

The silence on climate from both sides of politics in WA and much of Australia is bewildering as it is depressing. The overwhelming majority people want action on climate change. The science couldn’t be clearer. The IPCC have been unequivocal. These moments should be when out political leaders step up and explain why we need to do thing differently.

As the Climate Council said “the Climate Council said “Too many leaders are silent or absent … It’s time to show leadership and step up to the most critical issue not just of our time, but all time. We have everything to lose, the time for action is now.”

Climate Council says too many leaders are silent on global heating’s role in ‘megafloods’ | Australian politics | The Guardian

As the only Green in the WA Parliament I keep asking: what will it take to cajole, inspire or even shame my fellow parliamentarians to talk about climate – and to act on climate. If not this, what?


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