Shepparton News

An open letter to Shepp ’ s Federal MP

- R.mclean7@ icloud.com ROBERT MCLEAN ● Robert McLean is a former editor of The News.

Dear Damian, Never have I voted in a Federal or state election for anyone from a Liberal or National party, but you are in the unique position of being able to change that.

However, to achieve that change, you need to advocate for immediate and positive policies that would both slow the impact of climate change and allow the community, your constituen­ts, to both enact and embrace ideas that allow them to adapt to the rigours ahead.

You need to change your ideologies, rather than the climate.

No need to tire/bore you with the facts as the impacts of climate change are obvious from the recent Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergover­nmental Panel on Climate Change through to the bushfires that tore up and down Australia’s east coast, Kangaroo Island in South Australia and parts of Western Australia at the end of 2019 and early in 2020; massive heatwaves in America; hitherto unseen weather events in Great Britain; and the devastatio­n of vast parts of Europe either through flood or fire.

And now the National Oceanic and Atmospheri­c Administra­tion (NOAA) has announced that the July just ended was the world’s hottest month on record.

Damian, it is commonly understood that the costs of inaction on climate change for Australian­s far outweigh the costs of action.

Indeed, failure to plan for the inevitable transition would not only be a missed opportunit­y to tackle the climate emergency, but also a missed economic boom.

Liberal/National party rhetoric that the solution can be found in “technology, not taxes” is irrelevant and impotent unless it is about the technology behind renewable energy, such as solar, wind, storage, the electrific­ation of every aspect of society and the provision of skills that allow landholder­s and farmers to keep carbon in the ground.

Australia has an unparallel­ed renewable energy resources, should we be prepared to use our imaginatio­n, apply our intellect, be prepared to think boldly, plan and set goals enabling us to become, in the words of Australia’s leading thinker about climate and energy policy, Professor Ross Garnaut, “The economic superpower of the future post-carbon world”.

Just for the moment, let’s take the advice of US President Joe Biden who said, “If we don’t get this right, nothing else will matter”.

Damian, please take note: “Nothing else will matter!”

Although this fact has been kept intentiona­lly opaque — it reportedly required a Freedom of Informatio­n applicatio­n by Richard Denniss and Allan Behm to uncover the facts — the Australian Government provides subsidies and tax concession­s to fossil fuel producers and does not rely heavily on tax revenue from the sector.

They said, “For example, Australia exports more LNG than Qatar yet collects less than one-fiftieth of the tax it does. According to the Australian Taxation Office, Chevron and Exxon Mobil paid no tax on $15 billion of combined revenues in 2018.

“It is not clear why successive state and Federal government­s have subsidised the fossil fuel industry despite collecting relatively small amounts of revenue.”

Damian, recently you told me, face-to-face, that the government, your government and that of all those who live in your Federal seat of Nicholls, was not in any way subsidisin­g our fossil fuel industries.

Apologies, but I’m inclined to believe Denniss and Behm as they have no skin in this game, and you do as it’s about politics and ideology, and, your job.

My vote and that of many of a similar mind is there for the taking and all you need to do is abandon your profossil fuels ideology, your energy-agnostic rhetoric and stand with those of us concerned about the climate crisis.

Damian, your legacy will either be that of a climate hero or climate vandal.

That is, someone who did all they could to protect the people of Nicholls, of Australia and the world from the quickly unfolding rigours of the climate crisis or as climate vandal you backed processes that destabilis­ed and polluted the world.

My vote is there for the taking.

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 ??  ?? Time to take action: The costs of inaction on climate change for Australian­s far outweigh the costs of action, Robert McLean says.
Time to take action: The costs of inaction on climate change for Australian­s far outweigh the costs of action, Robert McLean says.

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