The Courier-Mail

HAVE YOUR SAY

- NGAIRE McGAW

OVER the past four years, I have had the luxury of studying environmen­tal science and business and the two topics are closely linked.

Despite my studies, I still wonder why Australian­s seem so apathetic about action on climate change when research indicates that 97 per cent of us are aware of climate change (similar to the US) and 78 per cent of us feel threatened by it. In the US only 64 per cent feel threatened, despite a four-year drought and costly wildfires.

This disconnect could be related to a lack of public education.

For example, major US newspapers recently ran stories about wildfires, largely ignoring any link to warming.

At least here we are able to access stories about concerns by the Pope and US President Barack Obama; threats to the Great Barrier Reef; renewable energy debates; and courts overturnin­g mining approvals due to threatened species. Even so, politician­s don’t appear to be pressured into action.

The public needs to be clearer on the forecast risks; the benefits (such as clean air to breathe, water security, reduced insurance costs); the necessary investment­s/ mechanisms; and the likely financial winners and losers.

Some businesses, such as the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the Energy Supply Associatio­n of Australia are speaking up.

Climate change will worsen and we’ll have less to regret if we have greater public awareness which translates to political action.

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