In case our politicians haven’t noticed, the past few days have seen fires rage between the Queensland and Victorian borders – all while we’re still in winter’s grip. The west coast of north America has been ablaze throughout the northern summer and in Europe, there’s been dreadful loss of life in Greece and savage wildfires and temperatures on the Iberian Peninsula. Forests have been burning up into the Arctic Circle.
Yet still they bicker like petulant children – as they have done for the past decade – about adopting an energy policy that will attempt two vital things: reining in power costs to the consumer and reducing the greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere.
The inability to settle on an energy policy has seen the demise of two prime ministers, possibly a third, and one Opposition leader, and produced so much hot air it would not be surprising if the political process itself was also contributing to global warming.
It is grotesque that in the same week thousands of ordinary Australians have been away from the families, fighting fires and protecting properties we again see the ugliness of political self-interest derailing moves towards an energy policy and normalising government instability.
Those elected to lead the country are doing the very opposite. Their inability to reach agreement on an energy policy is bad for business, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.
Worse, it’s putting us all in harm’s way.
With so many fires burning in the US and Canada, and their fire seasons now extending, there’s the very real prospect the big air assets upon which we rely each summer will not be available to help out when our own seasons kick off.
Climate scientists have sounded repeated warnings about the consequences of global warming. They have predicted extreme temperatures, droughts and fires. Their forecasts are becoming the new reality.
We face a horrendous fire season. The bush is bone-dry, the winds fierce and erratic. So the sight of our politicians sniffing leadership meat and sharpening their knives when climate change is a very real and present danger is deplorable.
I suggest more than a few of them would be well served by spending time with their Rural Fire Service brigades – and I don’t mean fronting up for a photo opportunity – and seeing first hand the byproduct of not addressing climate change.